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$1.2 million in schools upgrades would focus on security, maintenance

Board set to vote on 34 proposed building improvement projects

Feb. 26, 2013

Oak Creek - The school district's proposal to spend $1.2 million on capital improvements during the 2013-14 school year centers on safety concerns, security and repair work.

Staff recommend 34 repairs and upgrades be undertaken, and the School Board will take a look at the projects, ranked by priority, March 11. It is expected to decide that night which will be pursued.

Historically, the district spends between $1 million and $1.2 million on repairs and maintenance.

Controls upgrade tops list

The highest priority, according to district staff, is an $82,000 upgrade to building temperature controls at Edgewood Elementary School. The existing digital controls, which are approaching obsolescence but have an estimated five years of life remaining, require repair.

This item became high priority after a fault in the system resulted in the school's lights being shut off.

"We cannot afford to have a building shut down like that," Building and Grounds Manager Larry Savage said. "It pointed out a need to upgrade our system."

The district will eventually have to move to a new control system, but will keep their current one for the next few years.

Security concerns

Also recommended is the addition of security cameras at Oak Creek High School, East Middle School and West Middle School. The cost for all three projects combined is $76,176.

Other security-oriented projects high on the list are: replacing the intercom and fire alarm systems at Shepard Hills Elementary, adding visibility to the main office door at Carrollton and adding a window between the clerk's office and main entrances at Meadowview Elementary.

"If you have a situation where they're doing the lockdown drills and people aren't getting that message, it's the biggest concern," Superintendant Sara Burmeister said about the need for functional intercoms. "If it weren't a drill ... you have to make sure everyone has that."

One of the most expensive projects, estimated at $150,000, would update locks on all classrooms and provide teachers with a master key. The doors would lock and unlock with a key from the hallway, but with a button from inside the classroom.

Many of the security recommendations were brought forth from school administrators, but some were based on Oak Creek Police Department security assessments.

Repairs

The plan would resurface or replace parking lots at West Middle School and Oak Creek High School. Work at West is estimated to cost $150,000, and the east and west lots at the high school would cost $150,000 and $120,000, respectively.

In 2009, paving company Black Diamond issued a report about the district's driving and parking surfaces, which served as the basis for the current recommendations. Board member Mark Verhalen expressed reservations.

"For an overview on it, maybe they can take another look at it and see how bad of a condition they are in," he said. "Maybe you can get away with sealing a good portion of them and striping them."

School Board President Frank Carini argued for doing the resurfacing this year, saying, "next year you might have all sorts of internal problems and things falling apart that we will have to put money toward."

The district tries to repair a couple parking lots each year, Savage said, adding that minor repairs would only serve as a bandage to a bigger problem.

Most of the repairs and security upgrades would be completed in the summer.

Next Step

WHAT: School Board review of capital improvements plan for 2013-14

WHEN: 6 p.m. March 11

WHERE: district administration office, 7630 S. 10th St.

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