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The Facilities Department oversees maintenance of more than 4 million square feet of building space and nearly 900 acres at the district’s 32 schools, three Community Education learning centers and three support facilities. The department is responsible for developing and updating plans for addressing ongoing maintenance projects and environmental safety repairs at all district-owned buildings. Our staff handle ongoing renovation, remodeling and improvement projects, and contracts for services such as refuse removal and recycling, snow removal and major repairs.

Each school has a building chief and receives support from custodians, groundskeepers and maintenance workers who are responsible for making sure the building is safe, clean and well maintained.



Mike Schwanke,
Coordinator of Facilities and Grounds


Environmental Safety Program

The Environmental Safety Program is authorized by Minnesota state statute permitting school districts levy authority to finance health, safety and environmental management expenditures in order for the district to be in compliance with state law and rules of the departments of health, labor and industry, public safety and the pollution control agency.

The Facilities and Grounds Department maintains a five-year plan for all components of its Environmental Safety Program. This plan is submitted to the Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning for review and approval. All projects are planned and designed to be consistent with the primary functions and goals of the district.


  • Compliance with federal, state and local regulatory requirements;
  • Reduce/eliminate immediate and potential risks or hazards;
  • Reduce accidents and injuries;
  • Promote environmentally healthy and safe work practices, and
  • Foster clear communication of health and safety information throughout the district.

The effectiveness of District 196’s Environmental Safety Program will be measured and improved by conducting periodic worksite inspections. Facilities and grounds staff will work in collaboration with building staff, other district department staff and regulatory agencies to identify potential building hazards. Fire safety, OSHA compliance and Workplace Accident Reduction are several examples of programs that require periodic worksite inspections.