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|8/21/2013 ||Email this article Print this article |
|Central school board scraps plan for new operations building|
By Mary Rueter
Following the bid opening in July, it didn't take long to recognize a $1.7 million operations facility is not in the Central Community School District's future, superintendent Dan Peterson said at the school board meeting Wednesday, Aug. 14.
The district had anticipated selling the current transportation facility for an estimated $300,000 and adding the additional $300,000 it would save on parking lot and window repairs in order to construct an operations center.
But when the bids were opened in July, the numbers were not even close to $600,000.
"We realize our home needs to be on 11th Street," Peterson said, "and we're probably going to be there a while."
In lieu of a new building, operations director Keith Walker brought a different plan to the board Wednesday.
The proposal calls for pouring a 50-foot length of concrete on the east side of the current transportation facility on which to park the bus fleet. The weight of the buses sitting on asphalt has compromised the existing parking lot by causing ridges and ruts.
Walker said the concrete - with an estimated price tag of $50,000 - would hold up better than blacktop.
However, he recommends re-doing the asphalt driveways immediately surrounding the building at an estimated cost of $150,000.
Walker also suggested to help fund the project, the board sell a portion of the lot to the west of the building. The property to be sold would include 209 feet of frontage on 11th Street that reaches to depths of 132 and 161 feet to the north.
Doing so would square up the existing parcel that includes the transportation building.
Walker said the current building is "meeting our needs." The roof and a furnace/air conditioning unit were replaced last year and "the drivers are happy with it," he added.
In addition to resurfacing the lot, Walker estimated it would take about $10,000 to move the electrical plug-ins needed for the buses during the winter.
He also suggested "studding up" a wall to replace the plate glass windows and adding smaller, energy-efficient windows.
Walker said the old transportation building on 10th Street is "OK for now," but he added, the old maintenance building needs siding and roofing.
Asked if the board is interested in selling off part of the parking lot, board member Jim Irwin said he'd like to see it back on the tax rolls.
His colleague Jennifer Naeve concurred, "assuming we'd still have adequate space," but board member Steve Fuglsang was a bit more cautious.
"Remember when you sell it, you can't get it back," he warned. "When it's sold, it's gone. I'd like to try (the diminished space) for a few months before deciding."
Peterson said it would take several months to get to the point where the land could be sold. He said the district is working with surveyor Doug Hinkle to set pins defining the lot and with the district's attorney to establish the legal description.
Walker said he'd like to pour the concrete this fall and get the electrical service moved. The board would have to approve the specifications before bids could be advertised.
The asphalt work could be put off until spring, he said.
Peterson reported other maintenance items were completed prior to the beginning of school, including new carpeting in the Ekstrand media center and an intermediate school classroom.
Concrete walks were poured around several buildings.
The Ekstrand roof was replaced and "should be good for 30-40 years," according to an inspector of the project. The actual warranty is for 20 years, but the workmanship is such the project would have qualified for an extended warranty had the district decided to spend the extra money to purchase one.
Air conditioning at Ekstrand is 80 percent complete, Peterson said, and similar work at the high school and intermediate school will be complete by Sept. 15.
The board also agreed to sell a 5,000-gallon propane tank that quit working several years ago. An advertisement for sealed bids appears on page 2.
High school principal George Pickup told the board the Certified Nurses Aide (CNA) program is up and running in the former alternative school across from the middle school. The program also has attracted students from Northeast Community High School, which will be sending a busload of CNA and welding students to Central for the special classes.
Pickup called the partnership among Clinton Community College (CCC), Genesis Health System and Central an excellent example of working together for the benefit of local students.
Following completion of a health III class, students may take the CNA course, which is taught by CCC faculty. The equipment for the program has been provided by Genesis, which also offers its site for clinical training.
The welding program is "maxed out" with students, Pickup said. Neighboring schools pay $383 per student to enroll in Central's program; and Central is taking advantage of an advanced welding class for five of its students at the Eastern Iowa Community College's Blong Technology Center.
Looking at the job market, Pickup said, the two programs are helping a lot of students get jobs while they are still in school.
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