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Sprayer is a cost-effective purchase, says school district

Is it true that the Medford School District purchased an expensive machine to paint school lockers a few years ago, and the district has never used this piece of equipment?

— Anonymous, Medford

It is true that the district used funds to purchase a locker-painting machine a few years back, but it has recently been put to use, district officials said.

The district purchased a portable electrostatic spray painter for $6,500 about three years ago, according to Mark Button, district facilities manager.

Button said that the machine was used this summer to paint lockers at Hedrick and McLoughlin middle schools, but that it was the first time it had been used since being purchased.

The reason for the delay, Button said, was that the facilities department was working on deferred maintenance before, painting the exterior of buildings.

This summer they started a more regular preventive maintenance routine and will continue to use the machine to paint other lockers across the district in the future.

The machine also will be used to paint furniture and can apply a more durable coat of paint in less time than hand painting.

"Expensive equipment is a trade-off for labor," said Button. "It's an investment that will really pay for itself."

The equipment has a 20-year lifespan, Button said.

"We will more than pay for the equipment in its lifespan," said Button. "It's a cost-effective purchase."

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.