By BRIAN RATHJEN
Williamsburg School District officials, at the school board’s March 20 meeting, began the task of deciding when to schedule several of their fire safety-related and remodeling projects for the next couple of years.
The upgrades could be separated into at least three different projects: the family and consumer sciences, or FACS, classrooms, classroom remodeling and the weight room.
“This is just the start of when you look at the fire safety plan we’re going to have to develop, so some of this could address that,” noted Dr. Carol Montz. “We may have different people submitting bids for that.”
Scott Palmberg of Neumann-Monson Architects, Iowa City, noted that drawings are being made for some of the renovations that will be taking place. Montz noted that the district could fund the upgrades with about $900,000 remaining from the tax revenue bonds from the junior-senior high school renovation project.
“We’re going to pattern those (classroom remodelings) off the former science rooms where we added casework and just upgraded those classrooms,” said Palmberg, noting that new ceilings, lighting and such things as tech boards and white boards are part of the plan. Gypsum board will be placed over the non-fire rated glass in the corridors, primarily in the north-south hallways. Montz added that the district would like to use cabinetry similar to the hardware seen in the science rooms.
Palmberg said plans are also being developed for the FACS classrooms. The plans are based on the current layout, with new casework, cabinets, flooring and appliances. The overhead cabinetry would be taken out, with the new cabinets placed along the walls, but aside from that no other rearrangement is anticipated.
Specifications for those projects could come back as early as May. Montz said she anticipates the total cost to be under the $130,000 threshold required to advertise for bids.
Several board members were somewhat concerned about the ambitious timeline.
“The problem you run into sometimes is you run into so many surprises,” noted board member Mark Armstrong. “It’s easy with new construction but when you run into problems (with renovations) it’s a little bit different story.”
Montz said that she hoped bids could be received in time for the April 10 board meeting. Responded board member Darren Spenler, “School’s out in May that’s a few weeks before they can get something going. If they don’t get going before May, it’s hard to get stuff ordered.”
Several issues have been identified with the weight room, noted Montz. Passing around photos of the existing weight room, he noted ripped veneer up to approximately 8 feet on an exterior wall and above that a metal fascia with flashing. Some of that has been removed as part of the current project, where the exterior wall becomes part of an interior corridor to the new safe room. Some water damage was noticed on the exterior face on the sheathing.
Mold was detected on the gypsum board on the inside of the walls, and it may be caused by the high humidity in the wrestling room. Only by removing the brick veneer could architects get a look at the condition of the exterior sheathing. Palmberg recommended repairing the flashing and sealed well at the joints, if not a new sill flashing installed in place of the existing.
The gypsum board could be removed to see the extent of the damage in the walls, with a non paper-faced product replacing it, such as a Fiberglas-faced gypsum product that wouldn’t support the growth of mold, with a well-sealed vapor barrier put in. Palmberg said his team had been in contact with representatives of Terracom, and it was noted that the company could do a spore trap air test, as there were concerns that spores could be contaminating the air.
As part of the project, the heating and air conditioning system is being updated, with new ductwork and airflow in the room.
After some further discussion, Montz suggested visiting with Terracom and getting some spore samples and – per a suggestion from Spenler – possibly get a camera to get an idea of mold or other growths inside the walls.
With that board members agreed to put together bid specifications and do some of the classroom renovations this summer, with the non fire-rated glass being covered with boards during the summer of 2014.
Discussion also took place on the anticipated partitioning of the attic, which is being done for fire-safety reasons. That project will likely be staged over several years. Each compartment would require a smoke detector tied into the fire alarm system.
Montz said that various scenarios would be put together and presented for future consideration.
In a separate building-related issue, board members agreed to pay requests from Garling Construction for the junior-senior high building renovation project, and for the multi-purpose tornado safe room, one for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) room and the other a non-FEMA.
While the board was in full agreement for the junior-senior high building payment, the vote was 4-1 – with Blythe in the minority for the multi-purpose room payments.
A public hearing for the district’s 2013-2014 budget will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, in the media center of Williamsburg Junior-Senior High School.
The proposed budget is $23,476,644, with a taxable rate of $14.32 per $1,000 assessed valuation of property. Instructional costs of $8.75 million make up the largest individual line items.
The proposed tax rate is down some 44 cents from the $14.76 per $1,000 asked for this year, but the total budget is up from this year’s $23,019,246. Business manager Kay McMann cited the lack of allowable growth a year ago and lower enrollment this year as reasons.
But, the district has also paid off its recent building projects, she added.
The proposed budget’s public notice will be published assuming an allowable growth rate of 4 percent, or the amount of new money coming into the district. However, with the Iowa Legislature yet to settle on an allowable growth rate, administrative assistant Cynthia Gingerich noted that the certified amount could be adjusted downward, but not upward.
Following several concerns about the seemingly early start date to the school year and – due to snow days – school not letting out until early June, board members made a few last-minute adjustments to the district calendar for 2013-2014.
The final approved version will see school start on Wednesday, Aug. 21, with the last day on May 23, the latter date changed from May 28. The change came after board members remarked that, despite school starting in mid-August, because of school cancellations and several extended vacations during the year, the district has continually been unable to meet its goal of having the last day of school the week before Memorial Day.
To help set the May 23 last day of school date, Montz agreed shorten the original two-week-long Christmas vacation by two days. As such, school will resume Jan. 2.
The first semester will end Jan. 14, with no school scheduled for Jan. 15 and second semester starting on Jan. 16.
In addition to the hiring of Cynthia Gingerich as business manager and school board secretary, the consent agenda included these items:
• Resignations: Adam Berte, assistant varsity baseball coach; Shantell Krabill, special education teacher associate and Stacey Noble, winter/spring play director.
• Hires: Jim Berkland, varsity golf; Kim Ritchie, assistant junior high girls’ track; and David Shaw, assistant junior high boys’ track.
• Open enrollments: Outbound requests were requested for Braulio Ortiz, third-grade son of Shirley Ortiz, to attend Kirkwood Elementary School, in the Iowa City School District; and Bowen Stratton, kindergarten son of Josh and Michelle Stratton, to attend Clear Creek Elementary, Oxford. Inbound requests were taken for Cooper Bott, kindergarten son of Zach and Cassie Bott, Marengo; and Cenzie Williamson, kindergarten daughter of Randy and Reaiah Wiliamson, Ladora.
• Fundraiser requests: Williamsburg Softball Club, to sell discount cards for the Williamsburg and Iowa City areas, different than the Raider Card, from May 1-10; Williamsburg Student Council, various fundraisers including a “crazy hat day” April 1 for leukemia and lymphoma research, selling “stars” at halftime of the parent-student basketball game for cystic fibrosis research; and “Senior Survivor” admission; and Williamsburg High School music department, to collect Best Choice food labels under the Save-a-Label program for the music trip to Florida in 2015; and the Williamsburg High School band, to participate in the John Deere “Birdies for Charity” event.
In other business, board members approved:
• A proposal from Jester Insurance Services, Des Moines, to purchase breakdown insurance for the school’s technology equipment. The vote came following a presentation by company representative Melissa Kauffmann, who explained the program pays for the repair of electronic and electrical equipment, except for heating and air conditioning, and allows the school to decide whether employees or a vendor of choice can repair the equipment and perform preventative maintenance. A cash-out and swap-out provision is available for older equipment.
• An out-of-state trip request for the varsity boys’ golf team to Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
• Renewal of cooperative sharing agreements with other districts for girls’ swimming (with Clear Creek Amana, Iowa Valley and Keota) and boys’ and girls’ cross country (with Iowa Valley). Williamsburg serves as the host school for each of the sports.