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Two Oak Creek-Franklin schools likely to have safer entrances next fall

Feb. 27, 2014

Oak Creek — Safety remains the Oak Creek-Franklin School District's top priority as it prepares to advance its capital improvement project recommendations for the 2014-15 school year.

The School Board, in its committee discussion on Monday, considered the proposed list of 21 recommended projects totaling nearly $1.4 million. The list follows the five-year facilities plan developed during the 2010-11 school year, Superintendent Sara Burmeister explained, while taking into account the input of all building administrators and custodians.

Burmeister reminded the board that project recommendations are prioritized based on addressing safety and security first; then curriculum issues; and lastly, utility and maintenance efficiencies.

New entrances

With that in mind, the district is aiming to reconfigure the front entrance and main office areas of both Carollton Elementary and Cedar Hills Elementary to provide a more secure entry to the buildings in time for the start of next school year. The cost is estimated at $271,000 between the two buildings.

Buildings and Grounds Manager Larry Savage said district staff, along with Eppstein Uhen Architects and VJS Construction Services, looked at those areas to determine how to best redesign them.

Although those projects are a high priority for the district, they are simply too disruptive to complete while school is in session and must be done over the summer, Savage said. The goal is to finish them before registration for the 2014-15 school year.

Parking lot, other upgrades

Other safety and security upgrades planned for the year ahead include updating the fire alarm system at Cedar Hills, at a cost of about $100,000; replacing the PA systems at Carollton, Cedar Hills and West Middle School, about $45,000; installing additional emergency lighting at Carollton, about $15,000; and extending the sidewalk on the west side of the bus drop-off/pick-up parking lots at East Middle School, at an estimated cost of $15,900.

Board Member Sheryl Cerniglia questioned whether a sidewalk would be necessary at East Middle School and suggested that perhaps the buses could simply be moved to address boarding issues. Although that possibility was considered, along with other options, Savage and Burmeister agreed it would not be feasible.

Topping the recommended projects list in terms of cost is the proposed completion of the second phase of multi-year parking lot rehabilitation projects at both the high school, at a cost of nearly $380,000, and West Middle School, at a cost of about $228,000.

"Those two projects will remain on my recommended list until they're completed, before we move on to another parking lot or parking lots in the district," Savage said.

Coming in on budget

While the projected total for all 2014-15 projects exceeds the $1.2 million typically budgeted for capital improvements each year, the use of about $166,000 in tax-incremental financing dollars the district received this year will bring the total cost down to about that amount, Burmeister said.

The board expects to act on the complete list of recommendations at its next meeting.

Following its decision, Savage will begin putting out bids for and scheduling the projects, which will be completed throughout the 2014-15 school year.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: School Board to act on recommended 2014-15 capital improvement projects.

WHEN: 6 p.m. March 10

WHERE: District office, 7630 S. 10th St.

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