Although the current program is working great, the district does reassess their products frequently. New floor machines are considered every five years or so.

“It’s not green or cost effective to throw away equipment because something new comes out on the market,” says Odell, adding that they do a lot of in-house repairs and maintenance to help keep costs down.

Even so, in addition to the professional development days, Odell and her team regularly attend trade shows to keep up with the latest products. Based on a recent demonstration while attending NFMT 2015 in Baltimore, Odell is considering eliminating the machines that use round pads and switching over to rectangular options that feature dry stripping, using neither water nor chemicals.

“You can maneuver better in and out of classrooms and the pressure is better,” she says. “You don’t have to go over an area several times, but can pull the pad up over the edge so it can go up the wall a few inches. It makes sense all the way around, to put a square machine in a square room with square corners.”

Odell adds that the new machines tout quicker cleaning times, which would result in departmental savings on products and labor.

Although she is always on the lookout for efficiencies with products and equipment, Odell is also considering whether changing the flooring itself would save the department.

The majority of the district has VCT floors, but if Odell had her way, the district would abolish VCT flooring and replace it all with polished concrete. They are hoping to test out polished concrete in one of their classrooms this summer.

“With polished concrete, we can use a wet mop or square floor machine with little or no product involved,” she says. “Low maintenance and sustainable flooring is important for our future.” 

HILARY DANINHIRSCH is a freelance writer based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Proper Maintenance Of Floor Pads