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Ellsworth School Board moves facilities projects plan ahead

The Ellsworth School Board proceeded with a plan to accomplish facilities projects by approving a resolution early last week.

The resolution authorizes the borrowing of not to exceed $6,700,000, and provides for the issuance and sale of related general obligation promissory notes. Superintendent Barry Cain explained, once the resolution is published in the district’s official newspaper, a 30-day petition period will begin. If not more than 20 percent of the district’s population who voted in the last regular election petitions, the board will then act on the proposed plan.

Cain told attendees at last week’s special meeting these Act 32 projects were studied earlier by the schools’ ad hoc facilities committee, along with elementary school needs, addressed in a referendum this past February. Looking long-term, officials have worked with educational facilities consultants, including Frisbie Architects, Krauss-Anderson and Baird, and Nexus Solutions as well, the last from which a comprehensive audit report has been received.

Act 32 requires districts to retain state-approved firms for its purposes, such as Nexus, Cain said. Additionally, if they identify a savings for the schools and it isn’t realized, they must reimburse the district.

At the board’s regular meeting last month, the superintendent highlighted the report, which heavily emphasizes the high school due to its age, yet also examines the middle school and the Klaas-Jonas Community Swimming Pool. Results from an in-house survey, indoor air quality, savings opportunities, health and safety, deferred maintenance, and technology and safety needs are among topics for the report.

It showed water conservation, building weatherization and building automation as savings projects for the high school. Ventilation system replacements in numerous areas topped the list of environmental efforts for EHS, besides improving ventilation in the 1962 classrooms and special education offices, expanding and updating the existing building automation system, and re-commissioning and miscellaneous ventilation and controls systems repairs.

Under deferred maintenance for EHS, the report called for replacing the 1960 boiler plant, replacing high priority roofing sections, replacing single-pane windows, the 1960-62 window system, exterior doors and completing masonry repairs, replacing 1960 gym bleachers, and upgrading electrical systems.

As for technology, safety and security, it focused on upgrading the master clock, intercom/paging and phone systems, and upgrading safety/security systems—electronic door access, adding 16 cameras, installing intrusion detection, fire alarm system and front entrance security remodeling.

The project budget for the high school was placed at $4,743,004.

At the middle school, savings projects are water conservation, building weatherization and building automation, according to the report. The EMS environmental items are replacing variable air volume boxes and controllers, re-commissioning and miscellaneous controls and systems repairs, and adding perimeter heat to exterior classroom walls, art, band and vocal rooms.

Deferred maintenance items in the report for EMS are repairing and applying water repellant seal to building exterior, and replacing the 700 wing and north section roofs. The technology, safety and security items are electrical code improvements, new addressable fire alarm system, replacing emergency electrical generator and front entrance security remodeling.

The middle school’s project budget amount was $1,570,656.

The report’s savings projects at the Klaas-Jonas pool adjacent to EMS are lighting and water conservation. Deferred maintenance jobs are replacing the dome fabric with improved double-liner option, new exterior doors, new furnace/blower, replacing emergency electrical generator and improving electrical system.

The pool’s project budget figure was $495,250.

For more please read the Sept. 3 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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