While school may have been out for the summer, there was plenty still going on within the Newton Community School District’s facilities.
Newly hired Maintenance Supervisor Jack Suttek was present at Monday’s Newton Board of Education meeting, where he was introduced by Superintendent Bob Callaghan, and he listed off the district’s major summer projects.
“(We) had a great applicant pool, super, and Jack just rose to the top for many different reasons,” Callaghan said. “One, we feel he is going to be extremely aggressive and assertive in moving us forward and (two) he’s highly skilled.”
Suttek has only been a district employee for several months — with less than a month as the maintenance supervisor — but he spoke very confidently about his work and his intended duties to the board.
“Well, my name is Jack Suttek, and I’ve been in Newton since the fourth grade,” Suttek said. “My plan and my goals are to just keep moving forward. It’s all about preventative maintenance with me. I like to keep the jump on everything, so to speak.
“My predecessor, Eric, did a phenomenal job and my goals and ideas pretty much mirror his,” he continued. “So just keep moving forward, building up and I want to try to keep everything in house, that we can.”
Suttek compared taking over the position to jumping in a shark tank and rightfully so. He said they had more than 100 little projects over the summer, but listed off the items he felt were major to the board.
One such major project was the new playground at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. The T.J. PTA had been raising funds for several years to add-on to the playground and had previously set a goal of $23,000 to accomplish this.
T.J. PTA Member Robyn Friedman spoke on why there was a need for the new playground in a May interview with the Daily News.
“The switching around of the schools created the need for the new playground — it tripled the number of students of the age that would want to play on that kind of equipment at the school — and the rerouting of the bus drop-off created the opportunity,” Friedman said.
Suttek said that project was just about done and the only thing left was to lay down some wood chippings.
In April, the board approved making upgrades to H.A. Lynn Field using the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy Fund as a part of the district’s five-year capital improvement plan. Suttek spoke about some of the projects that have been completed or are near completion at the Cardinal’s home field.
“Has anyone been out to the stadium yet?” Suttek asked the board. “They installed the new speaker system that is on top of the scoreboard. There’s Newton Cardinals on each side and it looks nice. I can’t wait to hear it.”
The showers in the visiting locker room at the stadium were also modernized.
Other items that were completed this summer include:
• A new workout facility at the high school.
• The placement of a new 3,000-square-foot roof on the high school, as well as the placement of two five-ton heating and cooling units.
• Rebuilding the back parking lot of the high school.
• Near-completion of the Berg complex sidewalk project, which was considered a matter of student safety, and Suttek expects it be completed by next week.
• Installation of additional security cameras at every building in the district.
• The process to make all classrooms in the district carpet-less has begun. Suttek cited students’ allergies and easier maintenance as the reason for the measure.
• Converting the lights at Emerson Hough, most likely to an energy efficient type of bulb. “Everybody’s goal is to be green. It makes your community look good when you take care of the environment,” Suttek said.
• The remodeling of the technology department’s headquarters located at 1320 First Ave. W.
• Installation of the district’s new employee time management system from Time Clocks Plus district-wide.
• The changing of nearly 300 individual locks district-wide.
Suttek also complimented the janitorial staff he now supervises.
“These guys really do take great pride (in their work) and I’m glad to be working with them,” he said.
He also received some praise from his boss and fellow newcomer, Callaghan.
“I would just like to openly mention that Jack has hit the ground running and he follows the philosophy of kids first,” Callaghan said.
After listing the projects, Suttek made another statement to the board.
“My kids go to school here in this district,” Suttek said. “That means a lot to me. I take pride in my work and I want to see us move forward. I would love to open another school back up … My phone is turned on 24/7, anything you need or want just let me know.”
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.