2012-03-01 / Front Page

SF Considers High School Facility Upgrades

Could Cost District More Than $4 Million
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz

Meets again with officials regarding feasibility study, biomass boiler

Southern Fulton School Board member Pat Bard questioned if his fellow board members were any closer to making a decision on the various proposals and studies brought before the board on building and grounds improvements or were they just going to continue “kicking the can down the road.”

For well over a year, the board has heard countless presentations on options linked to possible mechanical and building upgrades for the junior/senior high school. Never taking the hook, the board and administrators continued their ongoing talks last Tuesday.

Familiar faces to the board, senior project manager Harry Pettoni and Dr. David Stricker, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, returned to give yet another overview of options available on a high school level through their feasibility report.

Looking at a scope of work that could potentially include HVAC and handicapped accessibility upgrades as well as exterior upgrades to windows, a systemic project could cost the district $4,316,234 after state reimbursement. Meanwhile, systemic changes plus the addition of a wing for seventh- and eighthgrade students could potentially cost $4,496,234. The possibility of systemic upgrades and the installation of a biomass boiler were also discussed and calculated at $4,116,234.

Pettoni noted anything in the study could be pared down to meet the district’s exact needs and expense guidelines. He referred to the items as an “a la carte menu.”

He added their priority issues should revolve around energy efficiency and issues like lighting. The replacement of T12 bulbs with T8 bulbs would offer more natural lighting and are reportedly 60 percent more energy efficient.

Also having previously met with the board, Rick Evans from Reynolds Energy went over possible financing options, which included Plan Con D reimbursement from the state, energy performance contracts or a combination of both.

Under questioning by the board, Pettoni said the state could possibly lower the district’s reimbursement in the event the district fails to properly address the state’s projected jump in student enrollment over the next 20 years.

In addition to their talks with the trio of officials on facility issues, the board also conducted a meeting prior to their work session and board meeting on February 21. Maintenance, again, appeared to be the main topic of discussion.

Superintendent Kendra Trail stated she thought the board had more specific suggestions on what issues they see at the school on a daily basis. So far, issues such as carpeting, ceilings, windows and mechanical systems have been discussed.

Board member Mark Mosemann addressed the need for a “systems approach” as well as a better line of communication. He lauded the efforts of building and grounds supervisor Mike Shaw.

Mosemann went on to say the board should put together a plan with scheduled maintenance and protocol on an annual basis. A suggestion box could also be implemented, and the comments could be prioritized.

“There’s a way we can knock things out systemically,” he said.

Shaw indicated he asked for the lines of communication with the board to be opened a year ago. He noted there is at times a breakdown on what the board wants and what is actually done. Aside from board members Bard and Allen Morton, a new board has taken office since his hiring, Shaw said.

He concluded even though the maintenance department is one employee short at this time, he believes it is doing a good job.

However, at the end of last Tuesday’s meeting, the board had still not come to a conclusion if it was willing to implement any facility improvements. With budget talks set for March 28 and 29, the board is set to revisit the issue then.

Return to top