Energy costs - electricity and fuel oil - for the Brandon-Evansville School District were nearly $150,000 for fiscal year 2018. This equates to approximately $1.26 per square foot at the Evansville School and about 84 cents per square foot in Brandon.
These figures and more were shared by ICS Consulting, Inc., the firm hired by the district to help assess its facility issues and needs, at a school board work session/community meeting Monday night.
For fiscal year 2017, the total cost for electricity and fuel oil for both buildings was more than $122,000.
ICS consultants Jason Splett and Lori Christensen also compared operating costs for the district with costs of similar-sized districts that have one building as well as districts with two buildings.
The three-year average for districts with one building was $3.31 per square foot, and was $3.50 for districts with two buildings.
Splett and Christensen also provided estimated annual operation costs and 20-year estimated totals for the existing B-E facilities, as well as for the options the school district is considering. Here's the breakdown:
• Existing facilities with no changes made (144,500 square feet) - annual cost is $437,835 with 20-year total at $8.8 million.
• Existing facilities with upgraded HVAC systems (144,500 square feet) - annual cost is $505,750 with 20-year total at $10.1 million.
• Option A: Pre-kindergarten through grade 5 in Brandon, grades 6-12 in Evansville (162,845 square feet) - annual cost is $569,958 with 20-year total at $11.4 million.
• Option B: PreK-5 in Evansville, 6-12 in Brandon (160,700 square feet) - annual cost is $562,450 with 20-year total at $11.2 million.
• Option C: PreK-12All grades in Brandon (130,000 square feet) - annual cost is $430,300 with 20-year total at $8.6 million.
• Option D: New school for all grades at green site (120,000 square feet) - annual cost is $397,200 with 20-year total at $7.9 million.
Pros and cons
After comparing other costs such as roof replacement for each option, Christensen and Splett asked the development committee - which consists of school board members, administrators and staff - for their pros and cons for each option.
The committee only came up with one pro with doing nothing and keeping both buildings as is - no tax impact on its residents. They listed nearly 15 cons, however, including operational costs, ADA compliance, parking, security, no room for growth and transportation issues for students, teachers and parents.
For Option A (PreK-5 in Brandon, 6-12 in Evansville), pros included better grade configuration, a school in each town, less staff transportation, better pick-up and drop-off areas and separate middle and high school spaces. The cons included busing, higher operational costs, high tax impact and classroom sizes.
Option B (PreK-5 in Evansville, 6-12 in Brandon) had plenty of pros, including better class configuration, secure entrances, ADA compliant, both towns have school and scheduling options. But it also had several cons, including high tax impact, busing between two sites, small elementary classrooms, one science lab, structure layout limitations and loss of operational efficiencies.
The list of pros for Option C (all grades in Brandon) was much longer than its list of cons. The pros included students and staff under one roof, cost is less than other options, one building to maintain, classroom wings/structure, parking and better pick-up/drop-off location. The cons included no school in Evansville, cost/tax impact, loss of Brandon ballfield, tight on land and potential loss of students from the west side of the county.
Cons for Option D (new school for all grades) were the cost and high tax impact on residents, purchasing of land, underground costs, what to do with existing facilities and location of the potential new building not being in either town. The pros were everything would be new, everyone would be under one roof, there would be enough space for now and into the future, it would meet code, spaces designed for best use and ability to host tournaments, which could possibly increase revenue.
The ICS consultants were asked if they could also come up with other, less-costly options. In turn, the consultants asked the development committee what the top priorities were to base other options on.
The committee came up with eight priorities and ranked them in order of importance. The top priority was fixing the HVAC systems in both schools.
The other priorities, in order, were modern learning spaces, space for larger classes, continued use of both communities, boilers fixed in both buildings, transportation issues, asbestos floors and other building materials besides brick and mortar.
The consultants said they would work on other options and may present them at the next school board work session, which is planned for Monday, May 20.
All of the information presented at Monday night's meeting will be posted on the Brandon-Evansville Chargers United website, www.bechargersunited.com.