United school board moves forward on renovations

HANOVERTON- In response to a failed permanent improvement levy earlier this month, the United school board Thursday night moved forward with multiple renovation projects.

The board approved the purchase of a handicap bus, a fire system connecting all facilities at the campus and playground equipment, and approved a resolution that will enable the board to avoid the competitive bidding process on three other projects.

-Handicap bus: The board approved up to $90,000 to purchase a handicap bus that can be used for regular routes, with board member Mike Ellyson voting no. The bus will not be used to transport for other districts as previously discussed due to higher costs, according to schools Superintendent Steve Viscounte. Ellyson said he felt the bus should not be used in the regular fleet.

-Fire system: The board approved a fire system for the modular unit, Brautigam Center, bus garage and vo-ag building for up to $30,000. Viscounte said the system will tie the facilities into the K-12 campus so that everyone will be aware when there is an issue at one of the buildings. Ellyson voted no, explaining that he believed the project would wait until the fall.

-Playground equipment: The board approved up to $30,000 to purchase playground equipment for the south playground closest to the school, with the understanding that funding will be sought from groups such as the PTO. Viscounte said the equipment is outdated and breaking down, causing serious safety issues for students. The other option other than replacing the equipment is tearing it down, he said.

Ellyson and Sue Drotleff both voted no, with Drotleff saying she believes the equipment should be torn down if it is posing a safety concern, but that she feels there are more pressing needs than playground equipment.

-Junior high roof: The board tabled discussion on repairs to the junior high roof estimated at $100,000. Ellyson said he wants to know the cost of replacing the 30-year-old roof rather than just repairing it. Drotleff also requested Building and Grounds Supervisor Tom Clemens get an estimate for a pitched roof and develop a plan to install a pitched roof on the entire facility, estimated at $3.8 million two years ago.

-Necessity for renovation: The board approved a resolution declaring urgent necessity for the renovation of school facilities, specifically for roof repairs, window replacements and a web-based heating and cooling system installation. The resolution permits the board to work with an architect to bypass the competitive bidding process and save time when working on several projects during the summer. The board previously used a similar resolution during the junior high wall project. Clemens told the board that he will find the window best fit for the facility and then develop a plan to replace all the windows at the facility.

The board will meet at 7 a.m. June 3 to approve bids for the visitors bleachers project at the stadium.

Kevin Howell can be reached at khowell@salemnews.net