The process of fine tuning the school improvement projects funded by Measure L continued at a special meeting of the board of the Southern Humboldt Unified School District on Oct. 22.
Board president Dennis O’Sullivan reminded the board that during the Sept. 27 special board meeting the board raised questions about the ability to cover the cost of all the modernization and new construction prioritized in the determined timeline.
Subsequently, O’Sullivan and district superintendent Catherine Scott met with Kevin Tedder of Semingson Architects and went over projects and bond sales.
Scott presented a project cost timeline that Tedder created that showed the projects listed in order of priority along with the associated costs and bond sales, both past and future.
Scott reported she talked to Isom financial consultants about whether the district should get a bridge loan or whether they could sell more bonds soon. She said she was advised the district could probably sell another $3 million bond in the spring. The board looked over the project cost timeline list with the thought in mind that there would be an additional $3 million bond sale in the spring.
It had been determined that if the entire South Fork gym project was done all at once as originally planned, there would not be enough money left over for the modernization of B and C wings to be done soon, which was deemed a priority at the last meeting. There was a lot of discussion about the logistics of locker rooms and the booster snack shack, which are in the first phase of the gym plan. That aspect would require some creative thinking. The gym plan is to proceed with locker rooms at the south and east side in 2013, and the cafeteria and music room aspects are scheduled for 2014. The upgrade of B and C wings are planned for next summer.
Scott also requested the second bathrooms at South Fork, which for some reason were slated for removal, instead be upgraded. She will look into the cost.
The site committees at Casterlin School and Agnes J. Johnson School will prioritize their modernization needs. The cost estimates for each of those schools were about $980,000. The board now directed Scott to get more specific costs after meeting with the site committees to determine their needs.
The advocates for the Whitethorn School again pressed for prioritizing the multi-purpose room and bathrooms at Whitethorn. At their urging, the board decided to forego the additional classroom that the architect’s plans had on the other side of the multi-purpose room, thereby saving about $150,000 and proceed with the plans for the multi-purpose room with a “stripped down” kitchen. It was thought that the Whitethorn community might fundraise to furnish the kitchen. The plan is to get the multi-purpose room done this summer. Modernization of the classrooms could wait until 2014-2015. The board approved the multi-purpose room plan for Whitethorn to proceed without the extra classroom and with a stripped down kitchen.
Also on the agenda, and potentially related to the bond measure school improvements was discussion about adding generators with automatic switches to the projects at each site since schools are designated as emergency disaster shelters. The generators would need to be able to power bathrooms, kitchens and multi-purpose rooms. But the board thought there might be some other source of funding for this such as homeland security.
The board expressed the opinion that they are heading toward the goals they set two years ago, despite the difficulty of balancing so many aspects of such a large project overall. The board appreciated that each site has been realistic about the overall needs of the district.
The board also voted to reinstate .7 FTE (full time employment) at both Whitethorn and Agnes J. Johnson schools, to create one full time position at each site. The enrollment numbers and attendance rates at both schools justify a fourth teacher for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.