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West district throws off taggers

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By Don Pace

Taggers doing mischief at the renovations at Don Cecilio Martinez Elementary School found their graffiti washed away.

That was due to the foresight of district architect Antonio Ortega. After completing work on a wall, Ortega ordered a special anti-graffiti spray, which construction workers applied.

“We knew the beautiful concrete port wall on the north side of the school facing Bernalillo Street was a wonderful target for graffiti, and sure enough late last week, they tagged it,” Ortega said at a recent West Las Vegas board meeting. “So we just hosed it off, as opposed to dealing with thousands of dollars that we would have had to spend to go back and remove the graffiti the old-fashioned way. It was an investment that was well worth the district’s consideration.”

Ortega was updating the board on change orders that saved money and allowed for the purchase of the anti-graffiti spray.

“If you look at the list, you’ll see the net savings to the district is about $8,000. So it is always wonderful to have a project that is as difficult as Don Cecilio because it’s an existing building, and to come here again with good news and ask for approval of a credit change order, as opposed to adding money to the project,” Ortega said.

Superintendent Jim Abreu told the board he has asked district construction manager Jerry Maestas to check to see if the anti-graffiti could be applied to all the graffiti-prone surfaces across the school district.

Ortega complimented Maestas as a former building inspector who has provided money-saving insights during the Don Cecilio project.

“Just by virtue of his experience, he sees things out in the field that really come to benefit the district in the way of saving money. The proof is coming to the board with a credit sheet, as opposed to to the more common architect plight of coming here hat in hand and saying we need more money,” Ortega said.

Board Member David G. Romero asked Ortega if there was follow-up maintenance after applying the spray.

“The coating is a onetime product. Once you wash it off, you have to reapply it, but it is really inexpensive. This is a product that your own maintenance crew can apply to surfaces around the district, and it’s well worth the money because you probably spend thousands upon thousands of dollars every year dealing with this problem,” architect said. “It would safeguard buildings you have already identified as targets. This one just looked a prime target.”

Ortega said the coating can be applied by hand or can be sprayed on surfaces.

Ortega said one of the savings came from lighting that didn’t fit with the architecture of the building.

“There was lighting from the existing street lamps that are there, so I think it was a good change order. It wasn’t needed to provide either security or safety, which was our primary concern,” Ortega said. “It was nice to delete work that wasn’t needed.”