The Cherokee Board of Education at Monday night's Management Team Meeting heard a detailed overview of proposed maintenance projects facing the District that are estimated at a $282,000 cost.
The projects would be funded by the District's Physical Plant & Equipment Levy (PPEL) and would be undertaken this spring and summer if the Board so approves.
Among the proposed projects outlined by Dr. John Chalstrom were Washington High Auditorium lighting system and renovated stage floor, new gymnasium lighting for the WHS and Roosevelt Elementary School gyms, a new equipment shed for track and football equipment at George Hicks Field, a security camera system and renovated fire alarm system at WHS, roof replacement at the old armory building now housing Cherokee Ironworks weight training facility and ICN Room, and a fiber optics line to Roosevelt School.
In addition, two other sizable projects were discussed that are "a year or two" away from being scheduled, according to Chalstrom. They are an estimated $40,000 for renovation of the WHS Art Room, and an estimated $50,000 to renovate the Family Consumer Science (FCS) Room.
Both rooms are continually over-crowded as the elective classes attract more and more students each year, and the FCS Room's equipment and facilities are outdated, according to Chalstrom and WHS Principal Larry Hunecke.
The lighting ($50,000) and stage floor ($20,000) projects in the WHS Auditorium total an estimated $70,000, with a $10,000 donation from R.J. Thomas Manufacturing of Cherokee reducing that to $60,000 total.
Dave Moore, Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds, told the Board that a common practice for schools today is to cover the existing wooden stage floor with Masonite. Then, if there's damage in the future, just the damaged section can be replaced. This is also cheaper than replacing the entire stage floor, said Moore.
The two gym lighting projects would total an estimated $18,000, with the WHS gym lights about 50 years old and in dire need of replacement. Activities Director Neil Phipps displayed the new lighting proposed, which would cost less to operate and maintain, and reduce electric bills considerably.
"To replace the new bulbs will cost about $4 each, compared to about $25 each for the existing lights," explained Chalstrom.
The Cherokee Athletic Booster Club is working with the District for the proposed new track and football equipment shed to replace the old one destroyed in the July 2010 tornado that struck portions of Cherokee and damaged several District facilities. The new building is estimated to cost $20,000, with the Boosters and insurance monies paying $10,000 of that.
The proposed new security camera system for WHS will cost $25,000, and the updated fire alarm system is estimated at $15,000.
The armory building roof project is estimated at $30,000, with insurance monies from the tornado totalling $18,000 of that, although negotiations continue with the District's insurance carrier.
The fiber optics line to Roosevelt School is estimated at $50,000, but Chalstrom said among options would be negotiating an agreement to tap into the existing line at the Cherokee Regional Medical Center at considerable savings. With no fiber line such as exists at WHS and CMS, Roosevelt School's computers are slow speed and in need of a broader band width. The existing servers also need replaced and a new fiber line would allow the District to not require servers.
Chalstrom also told the Board that the WHS walk-in cooler will be replaced next week. Chalstrom lauded Hy-Vee for supplying a refrigerated trailer for the District to use while the cooler gets replaced. The existing cooler broke down and is being replaced with a new one, also funded by PPEL monies.
The District generates about $400,000 each year through the PPEL levy and that money must be spent only on infrastructure, facilities, equipment, and transportation.
Chalstrom said it is wise to upgrade and improve District facilities through the PPEL fund, but a reasonable balance must be maintained as a rainy day fund.