With an ever-growing list of needs to be attended to and a limited pool of funding, the Chadron School Board Monday met in a workshop format to determine a list of buildings and grounds priorities, with the middle school roof coming out on top.
The roof has needed repaired for some time now, and unlike the district’s other buildings, the middle school project cannot be broken into segments to spread the payments out. The roof will cost an estimated $89,000 to replace and will likely be done this summer since it topped the priority list for every member of the board.
The district set the roof as its first priority working on the knowledge that the district will have approximately $100,000 to throw at buildings and grounds improvements before the end of the fiscal year in June. That number is a conservative estimate, said Dr. Caroline Winchester, and could change as the final months of the fiscal year wind down.
The board didn’t reach any consensus on specific improvements after the roof, though most of the board members agreed that school security is likely the next on the list in some form. The buildings and grounds committee said the district is considering upgrades to its door access system and the servers that run that system and the video camera system. That is estimated to cost the $90,000 but will merge the door and camera systems on to one server and increase compatibility, said the district’s IT director Eliu Uati Paopao
The other security issue concerns the entryway at the high school. The loadbearing portions of the entryway are starting to fail and must be replaced within the next year or two. While those repairs are taking place, the district would like to remodel the front entrance to improve security by creating an area where visitors immediately come in contact with school staff before they are allowed into the main building. All of those upgrades are expected to tally more than $30,000.
Board President Tom Menke said that the district also needs to begin considering how to improve security at the other buildings as well if it moves forward with the high school improvements any time soon.
The board also discussed other improvements that will be needed at some point, including playground upgrades, flooring, phone and intercom systems and the track spray. The work on the track can be delayed by as much as two years as the surface is holding up better than expected, Dr. Winchester said. The district’s current strategic planning discussions have also touched on other improvements to the track, with parents requesting fencing, a pole vault pit and run-outs in order to host district meets.
Dr. Winchester cautioned that even if the district made all of those improvements, the NSAA determines where district meets will be held, and those are rotated to various regions of the state each year. Board member Jim O’Rourke said it may prove more efficient to not spray the track at all and work with Chadron State College once its outdoor track is constructed.
The board reviewed its buildings and grounds strategic plan during the meeting as well Monday, noting that since the failure of a bond issue several years ago many of the projects on the list have been accomplished.
“There has been quite a bit done,” said board member Gary Hoffman.
Most of the roof work necessary in the district is now completed, and some of the heating and air conditioning projects have also been finished. New windows, lighting and a new bus have also been taken care of, as has work to relocate and upgrade the middle school playground.