The Communications Office is proud to present a new monthly feature, the TAS Tiger Thinker. In this recurring series, we will hear thought leadership articles written by key school leaders to discuss high-level and important updates that relate to our school's mission, strategic plan, and vision for the future. We invite all Tigers to think and learn alongside us this year!
By Larry Kraut, Chief Operating Officer
For the school facilities and operations team, the school year is a carefully choreographed dance between the facilities, services, and service providers that help Taipei American School create a safe, healthy, and excellent learning environment for everyone on campus. Well before our final day of classes in June, the facilities team is hard at work, planning the next act of this well-organized production: the summer rejuvenation of our large and bustling campus. Although often working in the background, this team takes a substantial number of ideas from the 'dreaming’ to the ‘doing’ stages, in addition to maintaining the existing campus infrastructure.
Once the last bus has departed, and the final student has tapped their badge on our e-gates, the next act in this dance begins almost immediately, and the operations team springs into action. For this part of our school community, the year is truly just beginning. In order to operate for nine months without interruption, each corner of the school, from our Lower School playground to our Upper School science labs, must be in prime condition.
The manpower, effort, and planning that goes into this uninterrupted nine months of teaching and learning are considerable, and it takes an incredible amount of effort to pull off the amount and depth of work on the docket each summer.
Collaborating with outsourced service providers like Sincere, the team delves into the considerable task of deep cleaning every corner of the school. From the classrooms where ideas are exchanged to the instructional areas that shape futures, no space is left untouched.
Carpet shampooing, tile floor waxing, and surface scrubbing are all part of the service team’s annual routines, made even more impressive because of TAS’s sprawling indoor campus, which occupies over 60,000 square meters across five buildings.
With cleaning well underway, the maintenance staff takes center stage, coordinating over 30 external contractors to perform vital maintenance tasks, and execute special capital projects, which vary from year to year. These skilled artisans, engineers, and specialists attend to the heartbeat of our School's infrastructure—our water systems, electrical networks, air-conditioning, sewage facilities, and fire protection mechanisms—with meticulous attention. These kinds of systems are easy to forget about during the school year precisely because they are maintained with such thorough attention and care during the summer. Students, employees, and parents who enter campus never have to worry about whether the lights and air-conditioning will work, these systems simply do, thanks to continuous maintenance and the summer special maintenance work.
Summer isn't just about maintenance. Just as students and employees are resting up over the summer and coming back even more energized in August, the operations team is proud to support the innovation and enhancement of our campus, through capital projects that enhance, maintain, and support the School's infrastructure. In 2023 alone, the operation's team coordinated and accomplished the following major projects:
- Constructed a ramp in the Upper School Courtyard that included the installation of a steel-reinforced concrete slab
- Replaced 800+ square meters of roof waterproofing and tiles in C-Block
- Created three new flexible space rooms in the Upper School Information Commons to meet student studying and collaboration needs
- Replaced 21 exterior doors located in A, B, and C buildings, as part of a multi-year exterior door replacement project to keep our campus secure
- Relocated a Lower School meeting room from the first floor to the third floor of the A-building, allowing for the first-floor meeting room to become a Mandarin classroom
- Replaced the surface and exterior protection netting of the Outdoor Tennis Courts
- Installed LED lights in all three libraries, replacing the older fluorescent light bulbs
- Installed LED lights in the US hallways, indoor tennis court, and US cafeteria in the first year of a multi-year project to upgrade the entire US lights from fluorescent to LED
- Replaced LED lights in the pool and relocated them to improve lighting coverage
- Replaced the composite exterior decking and benches in the US cafeteria, Golf Center, and MS courtyard
- Replaced rooftop air-exhaust fans and motors in year two of a three-year project
As the final projects conclude, and the sounds of work begin to fade away, the excited and joyful voices of our students quickly return to take their place. As our community returns to campus, the facilities and operations team are proud of their accomplishments and take great pride in the changes, both visible and behind the scenes, that ensure a safe and healthy learning environment. Their work, though, is never done, and as the curtain rises on a new school year, these dedicated teams are already planning for the next summer and continuing to improve the TAS learning environment.