Schools Visit County Department of Public Works Open House

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Students learn how a Surveyor’s Level measures the vertical elevation of the surface at different points during the Imperial County Public Works open house Tuesday.

EL CENTRO — In celebration of  Public Works Week, the Imperial County Department of Public Works hosted an open house Tuesday morning inviting members of the community and several schools to learn how the department operates.

National Public Works Week is used to energize and educate the public on the importance of the contribution of public works to our daily lives in planning, building, managing and operating the heart of local communities — and building the quality of life. National Public Works Week runs May 15-21.

The open house was an opportunity for the public to get a firsthand look at the scope of what public works employees do for the community including engineering, surveying, administration, solid waste, architecture, facilities management, field operations, water/waste water and special districts.

Participating schools included De Anza Magnet School of El Centro (grades 1-6) and the Roadrunners State Preschool located at Lincoln Elementary School in El Centro.

“It’s great that we can bring our students and they are able to learn what this department does,” said Mayra Ojeda, a teacher at Roadrunners State Preschool. “This is the first time our students have participated and they are very happy and enthused.”

Ojeda said it is important for children to learn at an early age what happens in their community.

“Our students range from three to five years of age, and even though they are young they seem very interested in learning how roads are fixed and how buildings are constructed,” said Ojeda. “It’s never too early to start learning.”

A portion of 11th Street in front of the ICDPW’s administrative office was closed off so field operations equipment could be brought in and displayed. The demonstrations included road maintenance and repair, street sweeping and emergency road closures, as well as tours of the facility.

“These kids are learning what the Public Works Department does including road paving and permitting,” said John Renison, Imperial County supervisor of District 1. “This is the first time we’ve seen schools taking a field trip here and I think it’s wonderful.”

Renison said with the numerous repairs of roads in the cities, the county needs to become more innovative since gas prices have been reduced resulting in less tax revenue.

“Cities and counties need to be more publicly oriented and more outreached,” said Renison.

Renison also said the ICDPW is doing a great job and rated them a nine out of ten.

According to the county website, the mission of the county Public Works Department is to preserve and enhance public safety and quality of life through reliable, cost effective infrastructure, and foster partnerships that strengthen relationships with communities and industry. The department also provides quality and responsive service through highly motivated, professional, and knowledgeable staff in a safe and fair work environment and continually improve quality of service through optimal resource management.

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