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Improvement plan: $23.5 million wanted for repairs

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Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. officials, gunning for a February school board vote, laid out plans Monday night to borrow $23.5 million for facility improvements that could be completed within two to three years without raising residents’ property taxes.

Superintendent John Quick said in an interview prior to Monday’s school board meeting that 14 of the district’s 18 school buildings are in desperate need of physical upgrades to guarantee that local students get the safest and best education available.

The proposal is the second phase of a plan that started with a just-completed $89 million expansion and improvement project at Columbus North and Columbus East high schools.

About 50 people attended Monday’s school board meeting at Schmitt Elementary school, where the presentation by Jim Funk of CSO Architects was followed by a question-and-answer session intended to shed more light on the school district’s vision.

New bond issue timeline

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Superintendent John Quick said he does not yet know the timing of many projects under the district’s estimated $23.5 million school-facility improvement plan. But Quick offered a potential timeline:


Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. Board will vote on whether, and to what extent, to carry out the plan

March or April

Line up financing and prepare bid packages


Start some projects. It is not known what would come first

2015 or 2016

Completion expected for entire project

Kathy Bradley, East High School Band Booster president, praised the district’s plan to build a new band room. She said the current band room is too small to fit all 65 band members at once.

Board member Robert Abrams asked under what circumstances the school district might tackle some of the secondary projects officials said they might include but are not of the highest priority, such as replacing the heating and cooling system at Rockcreek Elementary School.

Vaughn Sylva, the school system’s assistant superintendent of financial services, replied that the project scope would be dictated by how far the district can stretch its funds. Sylva said if interest rates and bids come in lower than expected, for example, then secondary projects could be added to the list.

Funmi Ige-Wright, the mother of two students at Parkside Elementary School, expressed concern that the upgrades do not provide specific plans to protect students from an emergency such as a tornado.

Quick said leaders at each school evaluate where the safest places are for students to gather during an emergency. At Parkside, Quick said the safest place is the hallway, which has strong interior walls.

Among details outlined to the public Monday were security, technology and structural upgrades that would tie in with the school system’s goal of improving each student’s educational experience. Improvements range from front-entrance intercoms to interactive white boards and replacing aging heating and cooling systems with better and more efficient ones.


Security upgrades would consist of redesigns of front entryways and intercom systems and cameras outside, Funk said.

He said Columbus Signature Academy — Fodrea campus, Columbus Signature Academy — Lincoln campus, Schmitt and Rockcreek elementary schools and North and East high schools all were designed or redesigned with front entryways that require visitors to come through main offices to gain access to student areas through another door.

Other schools don’t have that level of structural protection, while even more lack the intercoms and cameras that allow office personnel to identify people and find out their business before electronically opening the door to let them in.

Funk said it used to be normal for people to come in off the street and have instant access to classrooms. But student shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999 triggered a wave of school-building redesigns limiting access from the front door.

The need for tighter security was underscored during last month’s shootings in Newtown, Conn., in which a gunman gained entry to an elementary school and killed 20 students. Local school district officials have said that although the Newtown tragedy pushed school security nationally to the forefront, the Columbus-based district was planning for security improvements long before then.


Mike Jamerson, director of technology for the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., said technology upgrades would include putting interactive white boards and ceiling-mounted projectors in elementary schools.

Jamerson said interactive white boards give teachers and students a high-tech alternative to chalk and dry-erase boards. The new technology allows teachers to draw or write directly on the boards with their fingertips, and manipulate those images by enlarging segments.

Jamerson said some elementary schools in the district, such as Clifty Creek, already have the boards mounted on their walls. Others have access to the boards but have to wheel them around on carts.

Projectors are in most of the elementary school classrooms, Jamerson said. But he said they need to be mounted on the ceilings to get them off the floors, where cords can create a safety issue and the projectors take up space.

The teachers would have remote controls for the ceiling-mounted projectors. They also would have amplification equipment in their classrooms, making it easier for everyone to hear.

Structural upgrades

Structural and infrastructure improvements would include converting two first-floor classrooms to pre-kindergarten classrooms at Fodrea, classroom renovations at Mt. Healthy Elementary School, band-room improvements at Columbus East High School and a roof replacement at Northside Middle School.

Upgrades to heating and cooling systems are being planned for Johnson Education Center, Columbus East and Columbus North high schools, Parkside, Smith and Taylorsville elementary schools.

Steve Forster, the school system’s director of operations, said some of the heating and cooling systems are failing, forcing mechanics to continually replace components to keep them operating so students stay comfortable.

Forster said keeping students and teachers comfortable is a good way to help students achieve academically while at school. But he said another reason to update heating and air systems is that it could save the school system a significant amount of money.

Smith Elementary School alone would probably save 25 percent every month on its heating and cooling, said Charlie McCoy, the school system’s energy manager. During the summer, that could equal about $2,000 a month in savings.

School system officials are trying to cut energy consumption among all the school system’s buildings and have met with some success primarily through simple changes to operating systems and by asking teachers, custodians and others to do simple things such as turning off room lights when they leave.

A closer look at the proposed school projects:

CSA Fodrea Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve building security
  • Convert community room and old office area on second floor to two classrooms
  • Renovate media center and music room
  • Renovate student classrooms
  • Convert two first-floor classrooms to pre-kindergarten classrooms
  • Add small restrooms for pre-kindergarten
  • Renovate and add staff restrooms
  • Add ramp for access to gym floor
  • Add entrance canopy

Bid alternatives:

  • Renovate cafeteria

Total cost: $1.35 million


Smith Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Replace unit ventilators with vertical units such as those installed at North High School
  • Replace 1968 boiler and consolidate two boiler plants into a single plant
  • Add central condensing unit (air conditioning) and install chilled water piping throughout classroom wings (replacing all individual condensing units on the roof, and improving humidity control and energy efficiencies)
  • Replace remaining pneumatic actuators with digital
  • Rework classroom casework and ceilings as required for heating, ventilation and air conditioning renovations

Bid alternatives:

  • Classroom flooring replacements as budget allows

Total cost: $2 million.


Southside Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Renovate main and upper level classrooms (new flooring and display boards)
  • Add BCSC standard classroom technology systems
  • Replace floor finishes in classroom support spaces
  • Replace casework in two art rooms
  • New finishes and toilet partitions in student restrooms on main and upper levels
  • Replace floor finishes in media center and support spaces
  • Replace flooring in administration area

Bid alternatives:

  • Minor renovations to lower-level classrooms
  • Renovate southwest lower-level student rooms

Total cost: $1.2 million


McDowell Education Center

Project scope and priorities:

  • Replace unit ventilators and associated piping
  • Replace fire alarm system
  • Repair trellises and paint exterior steel
  • Repair sidewalks and renovate courtyards
  • Improve building security (access control, camera system, classroom door hardware)
  • Renovate four classroom pods (new flooring, painting, casework, display boards)
  • Add BCSC standard classroom technology systems to six remaining rooms
  • Renovate old, small classroom toilet rooms to storage rooms
  • Add student restrooms in southeast pod
  • Remodel east office area
  • Renovate main building corridor
  • Replace original interior doors and hardware

Additional work with other funds:

  • Shingle and membrane roofing replacement

Total cost: $1.95 million.


Parkside Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Renovate original 1961 classrooms (new flooring, painting, casework and display boards)
  • Renovate 1989 classrooms (new flooring, painting and marker boards)
  • Add BCSC standard classroom technology
  • Add coat cubbies to classrooms and remove from corridors
  • Renovate student restrooms
  • Complete corridor flooring renovations
  • Replace 1961 doors and hardware
  • Replace 52-year-old heating, ventilation and air conditioning piping
  • Improve acoustics in gym and cafeteria
  • Administration area painting and new flooring

Bid alternatives:

  • Replace additional door hardware

Total cost: $2 million.


Columbus East

High School Performing Arts addition

Project scope and priorities:

  • New addition to consist of the following program spaces
  • New band room and support spaces
  • New dressing rooms at stage level
  • Elevator to provide handicapped access to stage level and upper performing arts level
  • Student restrooms

Other improvements include

  • New vehicle ramp to stage level
  • Screening of trash bins and loading dock (city zoning requirement)

Bid alternatives:

  • Renovations to existing performing arts spaces

Total cost: $2 million.

Interior renovations

Project scope and priorities:

  • Renovate locker rooms
  • Replace main gym bleachers
  • Replace student academic lockers and flooring on locker level
  • Renovate main gymnasium heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems

Bid alternatives:

  • Replace single-pane glazing at main gymnasium
  • Install fire sprinkler system in existing parts of building

Total cost: $2 million.


Columbus North  High School

Outdoor improvements

At football stadium/track

Project scope and priorities:

  • Replace or refurbish and expand the home-side bleachers
  • Replace or refurbish and expand the visitor-side bleachers
  • Replace the press box
  • Replace fencing around the track and improve access to the visitors’ side
  • Add outbuilding with visitors’ side restrooms, concession area and storage

Bid alternatives:

  • Renovate home-side restrooms

Cost: $2 million.

Pool and gyms

Project scope and priorities:

  • Replace east and west bleachers in main gym
  • Electrical renovations and/or upgrades in gymnasiums
  • Renovate plumbing and fixtures associated with main gym
  • Renovate pool heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
  • Repair north and east exterior pool walls
  • Renovate pool filtration system
  • Lighting renovations in pool
  • Renovate pool spectator seating area

Bid alternatives:

  • Replace wood gym floor in main gym
  • Upgrade pool deck ceramic tile
  • Renovate visitors’ locker rooms

Total cost: $2 million.


Mt. Healthy

Elementary Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Renovate classrooms (new flooring, wall repairs, casework, coat cubbies, display boards)
  • Add BCSC standard classroom technology systems
  • Major renovation of student restrooms
  • Replace oil-fired boilers with propane gas-fired boilers

Bid alternatives:

  • Enclose and renovate cafeteria
  • Repair southwest building corner with settlement issues
  • New flooring in computer lab, music, art and large-group instruction

Total cost: $2 million.


Johnson Education Center

Project scope and priorities:

  • Make changes to existing heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and infrastructure, mostly original from 1952
  • Replace unit ventilators
  • Replace steam boiler
  • Replace all HVAC piping (most major piping runs are in the crawl space that is under most of the building)
  • Temperature-control improvements
  • Replace original 400 amp electrical switchgear
  • Rework classroom window wall shelving and ceilings as required for HVAC renovations

Total cost: $600,000.


Northside Middle School

Project scope and priorities:

  • Complete tear-off and replacement of existing adhered EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofing system over original 1960 building; repairs at stone copings
  • Replacement of existing ballasted EPDM roofing system over 1990 building addition
  • Metal coping replacements as needed
  • Bid alternatives:
  • Exterior masonry repairs of 1960 original building

Total cost: $2 million.


Richards Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Bid alternatives
  • Replace classroom door hardware with intruder lock sets

Total cost: $175,000


CSA Lincoln Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security

Bid alternatives

  • Replace classroom door hardware with intruder lock sets

Total cost: $75,000


Taylorsville Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Replace unit ventilators throughout building
  • Convert heating, ventilation and air conditioning system from two-pipe to four-pipe by adding chiller water piping throughout building (improved humidity control)
  • Replace remaining pneumatic actuators with digital

Bid alternatives:

  • To be determined

Total cost: $2 million.


CSA Clifty Creek Elementary

Project scope and priorities:

  • Improve entrance and building security
  • Create better access to east pair of classrooms from main building

Bid alternatives

  • Replace classroom door hardware with intruder lock sets

Total cost: $200,000

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