The Eastern Pulaski School Board members held a 1028 hearing yesterday afternoon to give those in attendance a scope of an extensive project in the works at all three of the schools to begin in March of 2015 and to end in October of 2016.
The board members did a walking tour of the buildings and made the collective decision to update and modernize the schools. Technology is the wave of the future and the school board felt it necessary to recognize that fact and to create the infrastructure necessary for that need moving forward with curriculum and educational space.
Rusty Nichols from Gibraltar Design out of Indianapolis explained the needs at each building. At the elementary school, electric upgrades are needed to reduce overall cost as well as a security update at the entrance to the school. Work needs to be done in special needs areas and the restrooms need to be brought up to ADA standards. The heating and cooling units need to be replaced as well as the gym floor.
The middle school and high school needs are a lot of the same. Air handling units need to be updated as well as carpet in the classrooms and the electrical system upgrades to handle the technology aspect into the classrooms. Restrooms will rise to ADA standards and fire alarms will be replaced. The gym floor will also be replaced in the high school.
The entrance to all schools will be updated to restrict access into the schools for student safety. Operating costs and energy savings are at the forefront of thought behind the project.
With hard and soft construction costs built into the final estimate, the combined cost for the renovations at the elementary, middle and high schools will be $14 million. Bonds will be issued for the combined project and according to Curt Pletcher from Umbaugh and Associates, taxes could go up 11 cents. The levy is at 14 cents. If you have a $75,000 home, your taxes would go up $18.07. If your home is valued at $150,000, your taxes would go up $71.45.
Two representatives from industry facilities in Winamac spoke in favor of the project, mainly because the school board is willing to upgrade technology which is key in their line of manufacturing processes. No other comments came from the public.
The board approved resolutions for the projects and the preliminary determinations for all schools plus the reimbursement resolution for the projects.
If all goes to the plan set out by Gibraltar, bids would be let for the project in December with the project starting in March of 2015.
Board President Joe Cunningham shared that the board did not decide to do any of these improvements for at least five years due to “tougher economic conditions”. He continued to say that proceeding immediately with “the current level tax rate plan and bond issue is the current top priority”.