School projects get go-aheadFrom improved air conditioning to upgraded science labs to bigger rooms for kindergarten students, several Farmington schools are in line for improvements following a Monday vote by the Farmington School Board.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
From improved air conditioning to upgraded science labs to bigger rooms for kindergarten students, several Farmington schools are in line for improvements following a Monday vote by the Farmington School Board.
Board members voted at their regular meeting to approve roughly $8.2 million in projects around the district. The money will come from bonds originally intended for a sixth elementary school that is no longer needed because of a slowdown in growth.
Farmington Elementary School, the district’s oldest school building, will be the biggest beneficiary of the projects. The school will receive expanded kindergarten classrooms, improvements to the kitchen and loading dock and new mechanical systems, among other things.
Board chair Tera Lee said at a recent workshop she sees a need for the improvements at FES. She said even with 19 students the school’s kindergarten classrooms get crowded.
“It’s still something we need to look into for that school,” she said.
On Monday, board member Tim Burke called the expansion a short-term solution until the district moves to all-day kindergarten.
Work at FES will make up $6.5 million of the total project cost.
The next biggest project is at Farmington High School, where the district will spend an estimated $600,000 to repair a malfunctioning chiller. The plan also includes $175,000 to improve venting in the science rooms at FHS.
The district will spend $596,000 to upgrade the media center and improve mechanical systems at Akin Road Elementary School and $397,000 to improve science labs at Boeckman Middle School.
The projects on the list add up to more money than the district has available in its bond, a fact that didn’t sit well with some board members. While finance director Carl Colmark said he has been conservative in his estimates, board members worried about what would happen if the projects did not come in enough below projections to make up the difference.
“We’ve seen budget numbers go one way and another,” board member Julie Singewald said.
Colmark said there is room to make adjustments. Proposed work on air conditioning in the Farmington High School recital hall, listed at $150,000, could be removed from the list of projects if necessary, he said.
Currently FHS pre-cools the recital hall for events where there will be large crowds. If necessary, Colmark said, it could continue to do so.
“It’s not the correct solution from an engineering standpoint, but it functions,” Colmark said.
Now that the board has approved the projects, Colmark plans to sit down and figure out exactly what will be done, and when the work will take place. Some of it will start this spring, he said. Other projects, like the work at FES, will require a longer planning process.
“We need to sit down and develop a timeline,” he said.