Going above and below

No one knows the dire state of the infrastructure of Tracy Area Public Schools more than head custodian Jo Pyle, shown here pointing out coils on one of the high school’s air handlers. The pipes, like the apparatus itself, are all original. There are 10 air handlers at the high school and three at the elementary school. Photos / Per Peterson

One wouldn’t know by looking at either Tracy’s high school or elementary school that both are more than 50 years old. But that’s from the outside looking in.

A study of areas of the schools that only few are privy to tells much a different story — a story about original equipment that is nearing the end of its life. While still functioning and serving its purpose, the very real fear among school officials in both buildings is that eventually, the small fixes currently being relied upon to keep things running behind the scenes won’t be sufficient.

“We’ve spent a lot of time discussing, researching, getting opinions about how to handle this because we’ve known it’s been an issue for a while,” Tracy Area Public School Supt. Chad Anderson said. “Our board is very level-headed and very fiscally-responsible; our taxes are some of the lowest in the area as far as schools, and they’ve always been very responsible. That’s why we’ve taken a lot of time to see what the best way to handle it is. Every decision that we make revolves around what’s best for our students and our community.”

See more in this week’s paper!