Denver Public School District serves some 90,000 students in 167 different buildings. A large district to start, maintenance schedules are further complicated by some of the bigger buildings hosting multiple programs.

"A traditional, 2,000-student-sized high school may actually hold three independent programs," explains Archuletta. "That means three different principals and three different class schedules, all sharing the same space."

In all, the district's 167 buildings host 200 different programs. Now, add in a full roster of after-school activities, daycare programs, sport practices, events and weekend community usage, and the buildings get even busier. With long usage hours, they stay busy late into the evenings. Summer offers no respite, with programs running nearly as frequently as the rest of the year, but with the complications of construction and improvement work added to the mix.

Knotty schedules, plus limited staff time meant that the Denver Public School District's floor maintenance program fell deeper by the wayside every day — particularly in those large, comprehensive, extra-busy high school buildings.

"For floor cleaning, restoration and reconditioning, our goal was to have staff mop and run a polishing machine through the hallways twice a week," says Archuletta. "But we were not meeting that goal."

Over time, twice a week became once a week. Then once a week became once a month. The problem became particularly acute during the winter. While Denver enjoys a mild climate, the city does get some inclement weather from time to time.

"Even a dusting of snow gets tracked in and it would take a couple of days to clean the moisture, grit and ice melt out of the halls," Archuletta admits.

This lack of maintenance took the expected toll on the tile. School floors looked dirty and lacked that deep, glossy shine that administrators love. More than just visually displeasing, the buildup was damaging the floors' finish and shortening the time between total stripping and finishing.

Stripping and refinishing tile floors is a costly process, with resources going to both required chemicals and an investment in time. The national average cost runs between 30 and 60 cents per square foot with some jobs topping out at 90 cents or more. A yearly top scrub and recoat helps stretch the time between stripping and refinishing, but "your floor program has to be running on all cylinders for that to work," says Archuletta.

previous page of this article:
Denver Public Schools Embrace Autonomous Autoscrubbers
next page of this article:
Autonomious Autoscrubbers Help Streamline Floor Care