Knox School Board Updated on Proposed Facility Improvements

The Knox School Board is thinking about issuing bonds for $5 million worth of facility improvements. Superintendent Dr. William Reichhart reviewed the proposed work, as well as some preliminary cost estimates, with the school board Tuesday.

A big priority is a new roof for the high school. “It is leaking and is in bad need of repair,” Reichhart said. “There’s a way that they can do three phases: phase one, phase two, phase three. The total cost for that is going to be around $1.1 million, actually, $1,123,000, to be exact.”

But the most expensive part of the proposal is the replacement of the heating and cooling units that sit on top of the roof. “They are as old as the high school is, and we’ve replaced some motors on it,” Reichhart explained. “But all together, on phase one, there are five units, in phase two, there’s eight more, and on phase three, there’s four more. So all together, there are 17 rooftop units that have to be replaced, with new curbing and new mechanicals. And it’s $2.1 million to do that.”

The school corporation also hopes to upgrade all exterior lighting, as well as all the gym lighting at the corporation’s three schools, to LED technology. Reichhart said that work would pay for itself over the next few years. “Starting in July, if we finish this in June, we’ll see an energy savings of about $28,500 per year because of going with the LED lighting. It’s going to cost us about $172,000 with labor to get that done, and we’ll get at least $25,000 back in rebates.”

Other proposed items include replacing the high school’s exterior doors, installing a new electronic message board on the outside of the high school, replacing the scoreboard at the Weinberg Gym, and buying 29 new ActivPanels, which are large touch-screen displays for classrooms. New carpeting is also proposed for parts of the the middle school, high school, and administrative offices.

Reichhart said all of that plus several other projects can be done by the end of this summer. He added that as long as costs stay under $5 million, property taxes would not increase beyond their current levels, as the school corporation will have paid off some of its existing debt.

Residents will have the chance to weigh in on the proposed work during the Knox School Board’s January 15 meeting. Reichhart also plans to have more solid cost estimates by that time.

In addition to the work planned for this summer, a facilities study is taking place to identify some other needs that may arise in the coming years. Reichhart explained the study will pave the way for a potential project encompassing the elementary school, which may be considered next year.