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Private building maintenance firm makes presentation

Photo by Brian Hansel Rob Stinar, left, Peggy Bounds and Larry Oelke of Marsden Building Maintenance gave a presentation to the District 818 board Monday night at their November meeting.

A private custodial firm sent three representatives to Verndale Monday night to make a pitch to the District 818 board.

Marsden Building Maintenance is a facility services provider offering commercial janitorial, building maintenance and speciality property services. Appearing for Marsden were Larry Oelke, Peggy Bounds and Rob Stinar.

Marsden has been in business for 65 years and offers technology and products that many school districts currently lack.

The board asked Superintendent Paul Brownlow to contact a private firm. The Verndale district has had some turnover in support services recently and Brownlow, who has a large number of new teachers to evaluate, is looking for some help in the selection of good custodial people.

It was pointed out by the reps that a contract with Marsden has provided some districts with a saving of $35,000-40,000 annually. Brownlow does not expect the savings to be that great for Verndale but they have the expertise and buying power to create some advantages over Verndale's present system. District 818's custodial equipment is serviceable, according to Oelke, but Marsden has superior equipment to that found in most schools.

Initial resistance from the community to the idea of a private custodial firm taking over in a public school is par for the course. Oelke pointed out that Marsden hires local people for custodial work.

"We train them and give them the tools to succeed better," Oelke said.

Marsden operates in schools all over the state of Minnesota. Two of the nearby school districts using Marsden are Frazee and Pillager.