W-MU adds more ‘top-priority’ items to list of building projects
BY KARYN SPORY
Mt. Pleasant News
WINFIELD – One thing is for sure for the Winfield-Mt. Union Community School District, a new HVAC system is a must. And one way or another, the district will have to install a new one.
Residents of the school district have been asked to join members of the facility committee to discuss building improvements and narrow down a building plan that will be voted on during a February bond referendum vote. Although the school board cites an expanded industrial technology classroom, practice gym, pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms and cafeteria as high priority, a new HVAC is something Superintendent told the board has to happen.
“We discussed at our last facility meeting that our HVAC is considered a pretty high priority and if we don’t get anything else done, we should get that done,” said Maeder.
Maeder said the HVAC, which has a conservative estimate of costing the district around $2 million, could come from SAVE funds and would not have to be part of the bond referendum.
However, there are a few more items that may need to go on the top of the priority list. “We have a couple of issues right now,” said the superintendent. “Our elevator is in need of updates. They no longer make parts for our vintage of elevator.”
Maeder said estimates for updates to the elevator were around $50,000.
The other area of concern was the roof. Maeder said the roof had been weather damaged and he was waiting to hear from the insurance company how much of the repairs would be covered. While he was waiting, he did receive estimates from the company that did the original instillation 15 years ago. “To repair the area… that is $54,000,” he told the board. To replace the roof would cost approximately $133,000.
Board member Jay Nelson said he would rather “spend the $100,000 and fix it rather than just patch it.”
As the board seemed to concur with Nelson, Maeder suggested the board reach out to Estes, who the district hired to handle the design and construction of the future building project, to see how a new roof fits with the rest of the project.
Maeder said if the community approves a bond referendum, and expanding the cafeteria is one of the approved projects, that could lead to expanding the footprint of the building and thus change the roof. “I don’t know if all of that needs to be put together or (look) at what we have existing. I don’t know the answer to that,” he said.
Board President Klay Edwards said he would like to have a hard number for replacing the roof as he felt it would be hard to decide if the district needs to move forward with the project now and with possibly using SAVE funds or wait and bond the item.
W-MU Business Manager Carmen Benson asked the board if they would authorize the district to seek bids on the project.
“We’re stuck in the mud if we don’t,” Nelson said of making a decision regarding the roof without hard numbers.
Edwards did ask if there would be enough in SAVE funds to do the HVAC, elevator and roof rather than bonding those projects with the building.
Benson said the only big things that currently come out of SAVE are the bus and computer leases. “We have $2.3 million that we could use for anything without a vote; that’s by board decision,” she said. “And we would still have a cushion built in (the SAVE funds).”
In other business, the board formally approved the nominations for the facility committee, which has already met twice.
The facility committee will meet once again with the public on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., in the small gym for the district’s second community engagement meeting.
During this meeting, community members will see the three building options, which have been updated with the input BLDD Architects received during the first community engagement meeting. A representative from Piper Jaffray will be present to discuss the district’s financial health and it’s borrowing capacity.
“I think we’re making really (good) progress, as planned for the time frame. The time frame is relatively shrunk down, but we’re getting to where we need to be,” said Maeder.
Lastly, the board heard reports from elementary and secondary education and approved the School Board Review Committee application for Modified Allowable Growth Open Enrollment Out. The district will be asking for $72,839.80 in authority.
“We were down 2.6 on enrollment (resident count only), but our open enrollment out went up,” said Benson.
The request was approved.
The next regular meeting of the W-MU School Board will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m., in the media center.