District to fix aging schoolsCultural inclusiveness, along with health and safety and deferred maintenance projects were on the radar for District 206 school board members at Monday night’s regular meeting.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Cultural inclusiveness, along with health and safety and deferred maintenance projects were on the radar for District 206 school board members at Monday night’s regular meeting.
In February, School District 206 administrators and school board members received a report from Energy Services Group from Minneapolis about health, safety and maintenance needs at both Lincoln Elementary School (LES) and Discovery Middle School (DMS).
A few items highlighted in the report included deficiencies in air quality and aging and outdated mechanical system components that increase both energy consumption and building operating costs.
In the review and comment summary approved by school members Monday night, which will be sent to the Minnesota Department of Education, this is what will be happening:
•LES – upgrade ventilation system, including steam to hot water conversion and updating the direct digital control system; install new chilled water cooling system for dehumidification and indoor air quality; retrofit lighting with occupancy sensors; improve plumbing system; and install new flushometers and adjust water flows.
•DMS – upgrade ventilation system including control system replacement with direct digital control system; install kitchen make-up air unit; re-pipe hot water system; install new high efficiency boiler; retrofit and enhance lighting controls; and install new flushometers and adjust water flows.
The total cost of the project is roughly $5.7 million. The work is being designed and managed by Design Tree Engineering and Ringdahl Architects.
The projects will be completed over two summers – this summer and the summer of 2011.
According to District 206 administrators, all the projects will have a payback in terms of energy efficiency and operational savings of approximately 12 years.
The projects will be paid for with district deferred maintenance dollars and a health and safety levy using federal “Build America” bonds. By doing it this way, it will save district taxpayers $300,000 in interest over the life of the bonds.
For a home with a taxable market value of $175,000 (the average for School District 206), the school portion of property taxes will increase by an estimated $7 per year, or 58 cents per month.
The district also received a matching cost/share grant of $58,000 from the state for lighting upgrades at DMS.
“School District 206 is committed to providing up-to-date, safe, healthy and nurturing learning environments,” said Superintendent Terry Quist. “The facility improvement projects for Lincoln and Discovery promise to provide cost-effective, long-term solutions that will improve classroom environments and decrease operating costs.”
Members of the Cultural Inclusiveness Committee spoke before the Alexandria School District board of directors, including LaTresse Snead, chair, and Steve Pederson and Carol Wenner.
The committee, appointed by the Alexandria City Council, was reorganized last fall. Karin Tank, the city staff liaison to the committee, joined the members at the school board meeting.
Tank and Snead explained what the committee is all about and discussed how the school district and city can work together on issues of community, inclusiveness and diversity.
“We want kids to feel more included in school,” said Snead.
She added that the committee wants to work with the school on matters such as books, the arts and a variety of projects and programs that can boost awareness of diversity and inclusiveness.
Board members were open to suggestions from the committee and said they look forward to working more closely with the committee.