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Modern Piping steps up for hands-free conversion projects

High school, Lakeview, Spartan Stadium to see upgrades

SOLON– With a boost from Modern Piping, Inc., of Cedar Rapids, the Solon school district is converting plumbing fixtures in three facilities to hands-free use.
According to Mike Shive, of rural Solon, Modern Piping donated the plumbing labor involved.
As part of the company’s community goodwill program, executive staff identified several non-profit donations to provide relief from the COVID pandemic.
Converting the existing fixtures at Lakeview Elementary, Solon High School and Spartan Stadium was one of them, Shive said.
Solon Community School District Board of Education members approved Modern Piping’s proposal at a May 21 meeting.
Superintendent Davis Eidahl explained to board members Shive approached the district with the project.
Shive met with Building and Grounds Director Bryan Heinsius and they walked through the stadium, the elementary school and the high school reviewing drinking fountains, sinks, urinals, soap dispensers and water closets, Eidahl noted.
Solon Intermediate School, Solon Middle School and parts of the high school are already hands-free, he added.
“What we want to do in response is to just increase our safety measures as a result of the pandemic and better prepare for students and staff to return to our buildings,” Eidahl said. “We want to go as hands-free as possible.”
At Lakeview, the district will spend $17,858 to convert 22 faucets, 34 water closets, 11 urinals and a water cooler to hands-free operation.
Changing fixtures for 18 faucets, seven water closets and three urinals at the high school will cost $8,768, while $4,100 expended for 19 water closets and six urinals at Spartan Stadium.
“This is one of the things we’ve been talking about as we prepare to bring kids back into our schools, and back into our classrooms, just little things we can do in an overall comprehensive plan to increase our safety,” Eidahl said.
Bids were not required for the $30,726 project, he added.
Governor Kim Reynolds has also eased bidding requirements, he said.
“The governor’s proclamation gives us a lot more latitude than we would have had otherwise,” Board President Tim Brown noted.
Work was expected to begin as soon as possible.
“This is a great opportunity for the district,” board member Rick Jedlicka said.
Board members approved the bids unanimously.
Shive said Modern Piping was able to provide labor at no cost to keep employees working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a parent with two kids at Solon and a partner at Modern Piping Inc., I felt this was a valuable donation to Solon Schools,” he commented via email.
The company has been active throughout the pandemic, he added, developing and fabricating ventilator manifolds for area hospitals and donating face shields and masks to St Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, he reported.
“We have also provided dollars, and in-kind donations to several non-profits throughout Eastern Iowa,” he continued.
One, the Die Cutting Dream Team, is a General Mills employee and his wife who have donated “a lot” of facemasks.
“We have a strong relationship with General Mills and jumped at the opportunity to provide some dollars to purchase fabric,” Shive observed.
The company’s CEO has contributed his and his family’s time to assemble approximately 4,500 face shields, at home, during quarantine and the vice president of operations was called to Minneapolis as part of the Air Force Reserves in response to the pandemic, he added.
Modern’s fabrication shop has also been very innovative in developing hands free door openers and water cooler operators, Shive said.