The Washington Court House City School District has been working on multiple capital improvement projects, with several more to be completed at a later date. Becky Mullins, treasurer at WCHCS, spoke with the Record-Herald about these capital improvement projects.
“I’ve been treasurer for nine years, and I knew when I came in that we needed to implement what we refer to as a capital plan. It’s a 20-year long capital plan. It covers everything from flooring to asphalt and concrete, to mechanical, athletic facilities, vehicles, maintenance and transportation vehicles, cafeteria equipment, and furniture. Everything has a life cycle. We knew that we needed to protect the investments that we have, and the taxpayers have entrusted us with these facilities. So, we’re protecting that investment and keeping up on the maintenance programs on those.”
She continued, “The buildings have to be power washed and sealed every so many years, buses will usually get 15, maybe even 20 years out of a bus. We don’t want to replace the whole fleet at once, so we have those spread out. Food service equipment has a lifespan. So, all of those are there, and that helps us with budgeting and knowing what projects are coming up in the next year or two. Some are quicker to get done than others. Some of them, it’s a longer process because you’ve got to send out requests for proposals and do a competitive bidding process. That’s why we have that capital plan in place to protect that investment. So, that’s where we start and that’s where a lot of these projects stem from.”
Mullins spoke about one of the recently completed capital improvement projects: the power washing and sealing of all instructional buildings in the district.
“So, the power washing was a project that due to the nature, we had to competitive bid that project. We started that last fall, awarded that contract in the winter, and they got to work as soon as school was out. They finished up just a week or so ago. So, they basically worked all summer. The buildings were in need of being power washed and having that stone sealed to protect it, and just the aesthetic look of the buildings.”
Buckeye Construction and Restoration were the contractors that took care of the power washing and sealing of the facilities. The power washing project cost around $370,000.
Mullins spoke next about the Gardner Park stadium restoration project that was recently finished. This project was completed by IronHide Seating Solutions, a company based in Tampa, Fla.
“This was part of our capital plan that was built in for seat replacement. The reserved seats were set to be replaced because again, everything has a useful life. However, those seats are still in really good shape, structurally. It would have cost us probably $250,000 to replace those seats, versus $35,000 to do color restoration. With the seats being structurally sound, this company has simply restored the color to our specification of school colors. The aluminum bleachers on both sides, home and away, have been power washed and cleaned and have a protectant on them. The kick plates on the home side are also blue on the aluminum bleachers, so those have been painted to match the stadium seating.”
She finished, “We really have gotten a lot of good feedback, just on what has been posted on our Facebook page. So, it really seems to have brought back some community pride.”
IronHide also restored the color on the fence caps around the perimeter of the field, as well as restoring the faded colors in the visitor stands.
School board president Dennis Garrison, spoke about these projects.
“To provide a safe and healthy environment conducive to learning, our buildings need to be in good condition. Our school facilities represent the largest sector of infrastructure spending and investment in our community. In protecting that investment and meeting our future capital needs, the district has actively adopted a comprehensive maintenance and replacement program to both address the need for new and extend the life of our existing facilities.”
Mullins spoke about where the funding for these projects comes from.
“These two particular projects were district funded. So, general funds and/or permanent improvement budgets. When the schools were built, and the voters approved the bond levy for our instructional facilities, there was a half mill property tax levy that was approved at that time. It was required by law to be approved, but we can only use that on those instructional buildings. So, we can’t use that money for athletics, we can’t use it for the auditorium, we can’t use it for the administration building, we can’t use it for buses. It has to be for the maintenance and upkeep of those four instructional buildings.”
She finished, “What we do is we look at our permanent improvement fund and see what funds we have available that year and in that budget in our permanent improvement fund. Anything else that’s part of that capital plan will then flow over to our general fund. We use what we can with grant funding first. If it’s the instructional building, and we can use the half mill maintenance, then we’ll go to permanent improvement before we may come back to the general fund.”
Some of the upcoming capital improvement projects include renovations to the historical auditorium, a “Land Lab,” painting the roof of the track building, installing a new track surface, and constructing new tennis courts.
Stay with the Record-Herald for more information regarding these upcoming capital improvement projects.