South Putnam receives improvements costs, suggestions

Monday, July 10, 2017

The South Putnam School Board heard a report on what infrastructure improvements are needed and their cost during a special meeting on Wednesday.

In his report, Dan Sulkoske of Kramer Companies (Brownsburg) said that South Putnam facilities are in good shape for their age, but that all possible maintenance and repair work would cost about $3 million, depending on what subprojects the board chooses to pursue.

The projects are part of an overall project set to take place throughout the corporation over the next year.

At its last regular meeting June 19, the board approved Resolution 2017-6-19, which permits the corporation to use the $1.5 million in current rainy day funds to begin some of the work this summer and later reimburse that fund with proceeds from bond sales.

The resolution also states that the total cost of the overall project is not to exceed $2 million.

After two hours of deliberation, the board asked Sulkoske to return with more specific information at either a second special meeting yet to be determined or its next regular meeting July 17.

The five areas in need of improvement are cleaning the high bay (ceiling, ducts, beams and speakers) in the Central Elementary gymnasium and cafeteria, repairing a roof drain on the southwest corner of the high school roof, liner repair for the sewage treatment plant, HVAC and other roof work at all three buildings.

Costing between $6,140 and $8,700, the board plans to move ahead with the high bay cleaning after receiving bids for the subproject at either the special or regular meeting in hopes of completing it before school starts Aug. 4. According to Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt, the high bay has not been cleaned since 1985.

Repairing the high school roof drain could cost between $1,700 and $14,900, depending on whether the board chooses to install a backwater valve or repair the collapsed pipe, respectively. If it chooses the second, the subproject will require tearing up a section of floor inside the school and will therefore not be started until next summer. The board asked Sulkoske to return with an estimate for adding a cement lining to the drain as well.

There were no estimates for liner repair at the special meeting, but those will be available at a future meeting.

HVAC recommendations totaled $965,000, but Sulkoske said that among those a pool dehumidification unit costing $250,000 was the real priority for both Sulkoske and school Maintenance Supervisor Jim Samsel. According to Superintendent Bernhardt, the cost of replacing the original unit has meant simply not having one for at least two decades.

The board also hopes to install a direct digital control (DDC) HVAC system throughout the corporation at an estimated cost of $290,000. A DDC system would allow the corporation to move from a Windows 98 program to a more efficient system. This was also recommended by Samsel, and would be undertaken next year.

The estimate for roof work at Fillmore Elementary came in at $107,850, with a possible $9,900 extra if the board decides to install insulation on the parapet walls to block water. Samsel and the board have named repairing this roof a priority.

The board also prioritized fixing the oldest section of the Central Elementary roof for an estimated $62,900 to $69,950.

The rest of the Central Elementary roof and all of the high school roof presented the greatest challenge.

In 2012, the corporation hired Insulated Roofing Contractors (IRC) to remove the rock ballast and repair these roofs with a spray foam. Sulkoske reported that, after it removed the rock ballast that keeps the rubber covering down, he could not find anything the company had used to hold the rubber and foam cover to the metal roofing beneath (meaning that it could blow away in strong winds). In addition, the foam, which Sulkoske said he would never recommend, was letting in water.

According to President Wes Hacker, getting IRC to address the spray foam roof has been a problem for at least two years. The board asked Sulkoske to look at the contract with IRC, and Sulkoske said he would also look at building codes to see if the foam roof should have been fastened.

The board decided to leave the rest of the Central roof and most of the high school roof as they are until these questions are answered.

Sulkoske is to return with a specific estimate for repairing the Fillmore roof, the oldest section of the Central roof and five sections (also done in spray foam, but not by the same company and performing better) of the high school roof. Sulkoske estimated subproject completion before this winter.

In total, these immediate repairs -- high bay cleaning, installing a backwater valve on the high school roof drain, installing a pool dehumidification unit, and the Fillmore and partial Central and high school roof repairs -- could cost between $772,590 and $795,270.

At the last regular meeting, Superintendent Bernhardt said that the overall project would not increase taxes “because we have some bonds that we’ve been paying on that are going to be coming off in 2018 .... We expect that tax rates will be level or drop some even when we take on this project. The intent is absolutely not to raise taxes by selling bonds in the future.”

The board is set to consider the project again at either a second special meeting or its next regular meeting July 17.

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