The Superior Express -

Superior school board considering facility needs

Superior School District plans to invest in its building

 

November 4, 2021



The Superior School District is planning to make an investment in the current high school and middle school building to ensure that it remains a viable building for many years to come. The old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies in this case. The projects planned focus on safety and the preservation of the existing buildings.

Plans are to replace a roof that is retaining moisture and approaching the end of its life cycle. In addition to renovating the main entrance to make it safer, this project will provide much needed spaces for the nurse and technology and more effective spaces for meetings. Redesigning and reconstructing the parking lot is also a priority to prevent water from damaging the building foundation, replace failing concrete and create a safer environment for students and visitors to enter the building for activities.

The current roof is a spray on foam product that was applied over the old rock and tar roof many years ago. It has been recoated twice since the original application. Last year, core samples of the roof found moisture was making its way into the old roofing system. The concern with retained moisture is that mold can grow and impact the air quality within the building in addition to causing the original metal decking on the roof to fail. The preferred solution is to remove the existing roof to the original decking, apply insulation that will also help with drainage and install a new rubber membrane product to the roof. Any damage that is found to the decking will be repaired, the old skylights will be removed and covered and roof penetrations will be sealed to prevent water leakage.

The existing entrance to the high school and middle school enters directly into the cafeteria. Visitors have to be buzzed in and then make their way down to the office. Based upon current safety standards this creates a dangerous situation for students and staff should an intruder enter the building. This concern has been noted by safety consultants with the Nebraska Department of Education and the district’s insurance company. The project would include enclosing the current courtyard by the entrance to the building and creating a dual gate entry system. This system would then enter into a new area for reception. The principal’s office, a nurse’s office and athletic director ’s office would be located in the new area. The existing area would be renovated to create a space for a conference room, new ADA compliant faculty restrooms, an area for technology and the librarian.

The current parking lot drains to the building. Moisture issues are beginning to appear in the area of the building adjacent to the parking lot. The concrete is also beginning to show signs of failure. Additional lighting would be installed throughout the parking lot. This gives an opportunity to expand parking for events and create a safer situation for everyone attending.

Cost and taxes are always major concerns when it comes to doing construction. The board has focused on providing as much tax relief as possible to the patrons.

Since the 2018-19 school year the total tax ask from the district has been reduced by more than $540,000. This is because an increase in state aid, refinancing the bond issue, and careful financial planning by the board. The desire of the board is to maintain these savings even while doing these needed projects.

By financing these projects at low interest rates of 2 percent or less, the district can avoid the inflated costs of construction and products that are predicted for the foreseeable future. Based upon the predictions, inflation will out pace the interest on the financing. The plan would be to utilize the QCPUF fund for the roof ($1.2 million), the Special Building Fund to make payments for the addition ($800,000), and cash on hand for the parking lot ($750,000). All of this would be contingent on bids and the ability to continue to be fiscally responsible with the tax asking from the community.

The first priorities are the roof and the front entrance. The parking lot is second.

All of these projects are designed to prolong the life of the middle-high school and avoid the district needing to bring a bond issue if the building envelope and support structures begin to fail.

 

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