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School Board approves final projects to be funded by referendum
North Crawford
North Crawford

NORTH CRAWFORD - The North Crawford School Board spent an hour-and-a-half clarifying and discussing five  Phase 2 Round 2 Referendum Projects at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 29.

At a previous meeting, the board took no action on the Phase 2 Round 2 Projects and left them open for future consideration after more information  was gathered. Wednesday things got finalized, when the school board approved accepting the projects as they were proposed.

North Crawford School District Superintendent Brandon Munson proceeded to review the five individual items that constituted ‘Phase 2 Projects 2,’ starting with a flooring project that included replacing flooring in the elementary school, middle school and high school.

Munson told the board that some floor projects were not necessary to do immediately. The flooring under consideration as Phase 2 projects had a cost estimate of $235,000. Several hallway flooring projects were excluded from  the list to be dealt with at a future time.

Board member Judy Powell clarified the numbers being used for all five of the Phase 2 projects were cost estimates not bids.

Munson confirmed that when  the projects are bid that bids could come in below or above those cost estimates.

In answer to a question from Powell, Munson said the entire flooring project if  installed would have cost $358,000.

One portion of the floor project included that might be delayed to cut expenses if necessary involved a regrinding and resurfacing  polyvinyl floor in the front hallway, two school offices and a meeting room.

Board member Jim Dworschack did not see the point in doing this polyvinyl floor revitalization project at this point given the expense of other Phase 2 Projects.

Ultimately, the polyvinyl revitalization floor project with a cost estimate of $30,000 will be bid, but could be removed if that became necessary for the proposed work to stay within budget. All the floor bids will be itemized for bidding.

The second Phase 2 Project in the school library was discussed. The project upgrade would include a flooring upgrade of carpet and high quality vinyl flooring with a cost estimate of $19,000. The project would also include a new circulation desk to be built by Amish craftsmen, as well as some bookcases with electrical fixtures included. New light fixtures, as well  as a new table and seating were also included in the project. The total cost estimate for the library project was $90,000.

The third Phase 2 Project discussed, a 25’X50’ greenhouse, was the most expensive. The standalone greenhouse at a total estimated cost of $110,000 was found to replace the more expensive original option under consideration.

After some shopping, the district decided on purchasing the unit from the Greenhouse Megastore in Illinois. The company installs their greenhouse kits around the United States for $30,000.

Munson told the board members that a concrete base with floor drains to the ground would be installed and base plates would bolt the structure to the base.

The company would do installation with a lifetime guarantee. The greenhouse would include gable ventilation and an overhead irrigation system and a tabletop plate.

The greenhouse would be heated with natural gas. Electrical cost estimates were $5,000 and plumbing cost estimates were $5,000.

The panes of the  greenhouse would be polycarbonate. The structure would have a 10 year-warranty.

Board member Judy Powell asked the ag teacher Makenzie Knutson, who presented the greenhouse project, how many students were in the ag classes.

Knutson said the classes included 23 high school students, all middle school students and all elementary students. She also pointed out that there were 35 FFA students.

Board member Charissa Richter was quick to note that the project like some of the others was intended to promote  growth of the school.

“It’s to draw people to it,” Richter said.

Board member Jim Dworschack said placing Styrofoam insulation under the concrete pad would lower heating coasts. High school principal Rob Sailer affirmed Dworschack’s idea, noting that insulation placed under the concrete in his shop had paid for itself.

“Who would be responsible for running the greenhouse day to day?” board member Jerry Coleman asked.

“I would,” Knutson replied.

Coleman insisted that the installation should be open for bids from local contractors.

“It’s a large number,” Coleman said of the $30,000 the company would charge for installation. “I’d hate to see local contractors not have a chance to get the contract.”

It was agreed that installation would be bid separately from the purchase of the greenhouse.

The fourth  Phase  2 Project to be discussed was the construction of a storage shed. Munson said the district had a cost of estimate of $36,000 for 30’x40’ shed from local contractor Tom Swiggum  They also estimated $20,000 for concrete electrical and heating. The total cost estimate for the storage shed was $56,000.

A lengthy discussion of reallocating space within the existing school building ensued.

Munson finally told the board through a series of building reassignments storage for the playhouse equipment and the school district maintenance department storage needs could be accommodated within the current building.

Board member Jim Dworschak cautioned against using  vacant classroom space for storage.

“Using classrooms for storage is a mistake,” Dworschack said.

Powell cautioned that classroom space to expand a ‘trades’ program would be in line with that voters wanted in the referendum discussions.

In answer to a question high school principal Rob Sailer confirmed that expanding enrollment would still be a long way from adding teachers at the high school level and needing more classroom space.

The storage shed will be bid, but its construction will be dependent on the district’s needs for the space.

The final Phase 2 Round 2 project discussed was elementary school cabinet work and classroom updates. In addition to new cabinets, the project would upgrade countertops, including replacing sinks and faucets. The estimated cost of the project was $75,000.

Summarizing the project as it stood going into Wednesday night’s meeting, North Crawford Superintendent Brandon Munson explained $3.6 million had been spent on Phase I work, which included a new roof for the building, drainage improvements for the parking lot and the courtyard, as well as replacing theater rigging for the Playhouse. That work has been bid and contracted and is proceeding to be scheduled.

Phase 2 Round 1 projects included expanding the daycare center from two rooms to four rooms,  upgrading the courtyard and resurfacing the north parking lot. These projects were already previously approved.

This left about $500,000 for Phase 2 Round 2 projects, which were the subject of the Wednesday night meeting.

Munson told the board that the Round 2 projects as presented would be $19,000 of overspending based on cost estimates. However, he noted that estimates included some optional portions of the project like the $30,000 polyvinyl floor revitalization in the front hallway area that could be dropped.

The superintendent also pointed out that many things were based on cost estimates, which could come in higher or lower when actual bids are let.

Munson told the board he was comfortable with recommending that they approve the project as presented. He noted that not all the work especially in the library and some of classrooms would be completed immediately, and payment would be made on furnishings as they were completed. He also reminded the board that unspent money from the referendum had been, and was still, gathering interest in the bank account.

North Crawford School Board member Jesse Swenson moved to approve the Phase 2 Round 2 Referendum Projects as presented and board member Charissa Richter seconded the motion.

The motion as presented passed unanimously. Board member Ed Heisz was not in attendance.

Following a closed session, the North Crawford School Board reconvened in open session and adjourned.