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Thursday, Mar. 5, 2015

South Putnam board continues to work toward fixing gym walls

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The South Putnam School Board held a special meeting on Monday evening to discuss issues pertaining to the gym walls and insurance.

The board once again met with architect Tom Neff and structural engineer Wesley Harrison of Schmidt Associates to discuss wall repairs in the high school gym.

It was previously reported that moisture has been getting behind the bricks and freezing, thus making the faces pop off. Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt noted that the school built in the middle 1960s did not have the same code requirements for structural bracing that buildings currently have.

"Buildings in the mid 1960s didn't have the same precautions as they do now," Bernhardt explained. "The walls tend to move enough to cause the bricks to crack, especially around the gymnasium areas."

Schmidt Associates presented the board with a time frame along with a variety of other fixes that the board may have wanted to look at. However, due to financial issues the board is looking to only do the structural fix at this time.

"It's going to take probably about four weeks to make the steel," said Neff. "Probably another four to six weeks after that point to get everything done."

To complete just the structural bracing of the project, it will cost around $200,000, which is an increase from the $135,000 that was previously quoted. The board will look to complete the repainting of the gym walls, bleacher refurbishing and addressing the issue of falling bricks at a later date.

"Taking $135,000 out of the Capital Projects Fund is a big bite," said Bernhardt. "Seriously, if it's about $135,000 that takes away from our technology and other things that we are doing."

With the number being closer to $200,000 and possibly a bit higher than that, the board agreed to look at alternative funding, such as extending the lease on the high school.

"We can't spend $200,000 out of the Capital Projects Fund," explained Bernhardt. "It will shut off all spending for that $200,000 and will stop everything we do. We can't really do that."

To buy time on the bricks of the exterior walls that are popping off, the board will also look into waterproofing.

"This is not the kind of project you want to sit here and talk about," said Harrison. "We're not trying to pressure you to make a decision. It's really something you just want to go away."

The board will begin looking at alternative financing before going to the next step, which would be advertising the project in the paper and collecting bids.

As of now, the board has agreed that it will be installing stability bracings for the gym walls, which will also include primer on the steel. However, the board will be painting the structure at a later date to match the gym walls.

After that project is completed, which will either be done before March 1 or before May 25, the board hopes to address the exterior gym walls and bleachers. The entire project is estimated to cost around $388,000.

Following the discussion on the gym's structure, the board moved to health insurance for administrators. Previously, the board had approved insurance for classified employees, but left out the administrators.

"With the administrators going into this plan receiving an fully funded HSA and receiving a high deductible health plan that will come out to a savings of $6,757 per family," said Bernhardt. "In the long run that will save the corporation $28,600."

The board approved the insurance plan for administrators, which will be through the Wabash Valley Trust Health Insurance.



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