BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A bleak picture of funds available for school district maintenance and rehab is now at the forefront of future discussions with the school board.
The school district’s maintenance director Kevin Moon gave a facilities update to the Fort Madison School District Board of Directors at Monday’s regular meeting and said the $500,000 that’s budgeted for capital expenses annually isn’t very much.
“There’s a lot of square footage out there, and it really isn’t that much money.”
Moon said of the $500,000, about a hundred thousand goes to roofing and enveloping the buildings every year. He said the buildings are not new and they require a lot of care to keep the water out and heat and cool in. He said another fifty to a hundred thousand is spent each year on other property issues like concrete and fencing.
“After you take those things out annually, we end up with about $300,000 to $400,000 to work with,” Moon said.
“The third phase of the air conditioning at the high school will be roughly $3/4 a million and the only way to do that is to save for a few years. The 3rd phase is the last phase to air condition all the core classrooms. The plan was to get that done while building the new elementary we would never have to let out for heat. That didn’t work out.”
Officials have estimated that renovating the current elementary schools would cost the district $30 million. Moon said to do that the district would have to save for 60 years and that won’t work.
“It can’t happen, so I don’t know where we’re going to go with facilities.”
Moon did say there were some funds available from the new middle school bond due to the bid for the work coming in very low.
That project came in very low and saved some money. It was a very good bid. We can use that money, but it was also going to be used for the bond issue. So it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.
School district Business Manager Sandy Elmore said the money would come from refinancing the remainder of the bond.
Board member Dianne Hope said a discussion on the future funding of improvements should take place shortly but shouldn’t be done at that board meeting.
“That’s something we’re gonna have to sit down and discuss, but we can’t do that right here, right now. Having done this in industries, it’s not that much money,” Hope said.
Moon also updated the district on summer projects. He told the board the high school track has been stripped away and the new surface is in place. The only thing left on that project is for the next company to come in and line it, which he said should be done in the very near future.
The roofing project at the high school is nearing completion. The old roofing has been torn off and replaced, now the district is just waiting for the recoating of the replacement to be done next week, pending weather.
Phase 2 of the high school air conditioning project is being held up on the delivery of new windows. Moon said the windows are critical to everything else in the project and said he feared that the project would push up against the start of school.
He also said Phase II of the P.O.R.T. trail is also set to begin next week and should be completed before school starts. That part of the trail will run along the southern property line of the middle school and connect with 48th Street.
In other action, the board:
- approved a contract modification for Superintendent Erin Slater.
- approved a formula for tracking board member attendance for meetings, workshops, special meetings, and other board activities.
- approved the abstract of votes for the school bond referendum.