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RHS ECHO: Online student news

RHS ECHO: Online student news

RHS construction presents new challenges to custodial staff

Emma Allison

Rolla High School custodians are currently faced with unforeseen challenges such as understaffing and keeping the additional newly constructed areas clean (not to mention cleaning up the dust from the construction). Custodians spend their days cleaning: taking out trash, sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and disinfecting. In addition to these duties, RHS lead custodian Robert Martens also manages his staff and makes sure they have all the materials they need.

“I’m responsible for mainly the equipment and all the schools and making sure they [the RHS custodial staff] get their supplies so they can do their jobs,” said Martens. 

The current construction has added many new challenges for Martens and his custodial staff.

“If you go into the practice gym almost daily, you see that it’s pretty dusty. We had to go in there every night and clean that so it’s ready for school the next day,” said Martens. “Last year when construction started there was so much dust in the main gym that it took us two days to get all the dust out of there. So the biggest thing from the construction is the dust and having to deal with them [the construction crew] being able to store materials that they have to have for their job- and unfortunately again that gets stored in our building.”

Once construction is complete, the custodial staff’s usual duties will have to account for the new spaces, including the band room, choir room, and gym. 

“They only allowed me one [additional custodian] but the square footage is quite, quite extensive. Just three rooms really. There’ll be at least four more bathrooms that will have to be cleaned every night and hallways that’ll be tiled. So all those areas will have to be cleaned with just one additional body,” said Martens.

Although the custodial staff has always hired student custodians, student custodians are in especially high demand this year to help with the additional duties added from the new addition. 

“We generally try and hire a couple students to help out,” explained Martens. “Their job is basically sweeping floors, taking out trash, cleaning windows and mirrors and things like that.” 

Interested students can apply for after-school positions with the RHS administrators. 

“Just apply at the main office with one of the secretaries and they’ll set up an appointment with Dr. Ray. Dr. Ray interviews them, then he talks with me if I can use them here or if I need them in other buildings. We also have student custodians working at all the other schools,” said Martens. 

Junior Seth Kuhlman has been working as a part-time custodian for Rolla Public Schools for a little over a year. Although he’s now an experienced worker, Kuhlman doesn’t have all the responsibilities of a full-time custodian. 

“I usually pair up with another custodian, because I can’t really do everything by myself because I’m a student,” explained Kuhlman. 

Whereas full-time staff do more thorough and complex tasks, student custodians have more straightforward duties. 

“[I] sweep floors in the classrooms, wipe down the water fountains and stuff,” explained Kuhlman. 

Being both a student in the school as well as a custodian, Kuhlman’s more aware of the impact his actions have on the custodial staff. 

“I’m more conscious about what I do. Like…I don’t just drop stuff on the ground and I throw stuff away more,” Kuhlman stated. 

To help the custodial staff, students can be more conscientious of their habits.  

“They can just pick up their stuff if they drop it…just be conscious of what they’re doing,” said Kuhlman. 

Martens agrees that students simply cleaning up after themselves is the best way to assist custodians. 

“Pick up after yourselves. That’s the biggest thing,” said Martens. “Instead of throwing your trash on the floor or leaving it on the tables or benches, throw it in the trash cans for us. That helps out a lot.” 

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About the Contributor
Emma Allison, Staff Reporter
Hallo, I’m Emma Allison, and I’m a senior! This is my first year as a reporter for ECHO. I’m also in NHS, Project FIDO, and German Club. Outside of school, I’m most likely reading, creating art, or spending time with my friends!