By David Fleet
Goodrich- On Monday night the school board of trustees, principals, grounds and maintenance along with administration gathered with representatives from Pontiac-based Auch Construction for a bond assessment planning session and workshop.
Following a facilities and condition assessment of school district buildings that total $45.9 million in upgrades, $26.5 million or 57 percent are critical within the next 1-3 years. The building and renovation project was first introduced on Oct. 15, 2018 when the district building and site committee consulted with the school district attorney to discuss the district’s facility needs.
Then in November the school board of trustees moved forward with the exploration of a district bond and/or sinking fund for possible vote in May 2020.
The district bond debt is currently at $39,190,000. The last bond was February 2011 when school district voters approved a $15.4 million bond extension to be used for educational facilities, technology, athletics and energy upgrades. The board will continue to evaluate options for funding the building needs and whether a sinking fund and/or bond will be presented to voters. Next month school officials will further prioritize the needs of the district and the most cost effective funding process..
Matt Beck, IDS, associate architecture presented some of the findings from the June-August evaluation on Monday night.
“The buildings all have a more traditional teaching model,” said Beck. “The existing learning environmental supports the current teaching model with some flexibility.”
According to the report, one of the big concerns in all the buildings was vehicular/pedestrian circulation and general site safety, especially at the middle school and elementary schools.
“Safety is a priority and upgrades to the current security procedures in all the buildings were highlighted,” he said. “Better connections between the school and community is also a consideration.”
The building assessment scoring is based upon the design teams, expert opinion and experience. They looked at the components and what the expected life is remaining on the buildings.
Now that an assessment report is generated, the ratings of each building will be evaluated by the districts grounds and maintenance supervisors.
Following the assessment of Reid Elementary School, the oldest in the district, $5.6 million in upgrades was identified, with $2.5 million in mechanical and electrical changes. Technology system upgrades totaled $1 million.
Upgrades to Oaktree Elementary constructed in the1996 totaled $8.8 million. Of that, the Oaktree site, building exterior and interior will require $4.8 million—from entry road congestion to new asphalt to water damage from rainwater will be addressed. Also, $1.2 million in technology system.
The middle school, opened in 2002 will need $8.3 million in upgrades. Technology and mechanical systems top the needs at $3.8 million. The site improvements including road congestion, parking surfaces, building exterior, roof drainage and insulation will cost $2.8 million.
At $21,400 million the high school, constructed in 1965 and with several additions over the last 54 years, will require the most upgrades of all the buildings. Nearly all mechanical equipment outside of the auditorium and administration renovations are at the end of life needing $6.5 million in repairs. Site issues, including drop-off approach, building with uninsulated walls and poor window construction repairs will total $8.7 million.
In 2011 high school projects totaling $7.219 million were completed, which included renovations to the athletic complex, approximately $2 million of the bond extension was used for technology upgrades. The remainder of the money was used for Reid Elementary School and other projects in the district.
Of the total district building upgrades of $45.9 million, mechanical needs are $11.9 million, site work $10,100 and architectural $9.3 million accounting for the greatest expenses.