Estes Construction ICAT (Iowa Construction Advocate Team) was hired by the Albia Community School Board to study facility improvement needs at the high school and junior high, Lincoln Center, Mick Technology Building and the Monroe County Sports Complex.
Their job was to identify short and longer term needs and provide information to the board to help produce a District Facility Master Plan. The assessment made of the buildings was a visual, non-destructive inspection, identifying existing conditions and providing an estimate of probable costs to perform the necessary maintenance, repairs or renovations required to bring the current conditions into compliance with building codes, quality, comfort, improved learning environment, aesthetics and accessibility requirements for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The report is intended to be used as a planning tool for the school district to use in short and long-term facility goals.
At first glance of the report, the costs are eye-popping, particularly in terms of the work already done in the district using mostly S.I.L.O. (School Infrastructure Local Opetion) penny sales tax. Those major projects included the remodeling and addition to Grant School, remodeling of Kendall School, construction of the new track and soccer field, building the MAC wrestling facility, air conditioning at Lincoln Center, addition of the new high school cafeteria and improvements done to the football field.
In bringing the high school/junior high, Lincoln Center, Mick Technology Center and Monroe County Sports Complex (should the school ultimately own it) Estes Construction estimated the cost would be $11.9 million at the low end and $16.59 million at the high end.
High school/Junior High
Estes broke down their reports in terms of “recommended,” “required” “urgent” and “suggested.”
They listed as “urgent” the installation of new air conditioning at the high school and junior high under building improvements. It is the only building in the district still without being fully air conditioned. The cost is estimated at $2.4 million at the low end and $2.8 million at the high end.
Under safety and security, required upgrades including new accessibility upgrades, code compliance upgrades, new secure entry system and administration office reconfiguration (the board already spent almost $50,000 on security, but the Estes’ plan would completely move the administration office at a cost of between $422,000-$511,000). Fire alarm modifications are also listed as required in terms of safety and security. The company “recommended” asbestos abatement at a cost of between $189,000-$380,000.
In terms of building improvements, they listed as required new doors and windows ($81,000-$102,000), a new fine arts addition and renovation ($1.28 million-$1.6 million) and electrical improvements ($245,000-$329,000). New finishes, new roofing and fascia and new mechanical replacement were listed as recommended.
Site improvements including a new wall at the football stadium costing between $55,000-$67,000) and a recommended paving and work site at a cost of between $62,000-$79,000.
Total costs at the high school and junior high are between $7.858 million and $9.768 million.
There aren’t as many projects listed at Lincoln Center, particularly since air conditioning, a new gym floor, improvements to the playground and an elevator were added to the building.
Under safety and security, some asbestos still exists and removing it would cost between $168,000 and $413,000. Estes says new accessibility upgrades ($110,000-$148,000) and code compliance upgrades ($109,000-$362,000) are required improvements while a fire suppression system is suggested at a cost of between $158,000-$176,000).
Estes said new finishes ($472,000-$618,000), new doors and windows ($51,000-$59,000) and new roofing and drainage improvements ($827,000-$1.27 million) were required. Mechanical improvements ($259,000-$312,000) and electrical improvements ($152,000-$192,000) were recommended at a total cost to Lincoln Center of between $2.3 and $3.5 million.
Mick Technology Building
The Mick Technology Building is the newest facility in the district built in 1999 and had the fewest needs according to Estes. In terms of safety and security code compliance upgrades and a fire suppression system costing between $45,000-$60,000 and building improvements of new floor finishes (carpet squares), mechanical improvements and electrical improvements costing between $63,000 and $83,000 brought the total to between $108,000-$143,000.
Monroe County Sports Complex
Last week a story reported the site improvements at the sports complex, should the district accept the county’s offer to take on the facility. Those numbers ranged from a low of $1.6 million to a high of $3.1 million. Most of that total was paved parking and new ADA walking paths.
Estes added all of the urgent, required, recommended and suggested projects. Urgent projects were between $2.4 and $2.8 million, required projects were between $4.7 and $6.7 million, recommended projects were between $3 million and $4.2 million and suggested projects were estimated costing between $1.6 and $2.7 million district wide.
Estes presented some basic information about each building being looked at. The high school/junior high (7th-12th grades) has an enrollment of 525 with current square foot per student of 188. The regional average for square footage per student is 192.
The original construction (which includes primarily the B Gym) was built in 1934. The junior high addition was added in 1958 with the west additions built in 1976 and 1983 and the main high school completed in 1991. The 1991 high school was built at a cost of $3.2 million.
Lincoln Center was built in 1969. It has a 3rd grade through 6th grade enrollment of 358 students with square footage per student at 133, compared to a regional average of 240.
The Mick Technology Center was built in 1999 with total square footage of 9,600.
In the presentation book, Estes mapped out the funding options for school facilities. The General Operating Fund pays for daily expenses and salaries and can be used for infrastructure improvements, but is generally not considered a viable source for anything but emergency repairs.
The statewide school sales tax (Local Option Sales and Service Tax – LOSST and School Infrastructure Local Option Sales Tax SILO) provides both a cash fund for schools or a source to borrow against expected income. Virtually all of the improvements made in the past 20 years in Albia have come through the penny sales tax.
Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) is a designated source for infrastructure funding, but also funds transportation, property, computers, technology and equipment. Albia’s PPEL is the lowest allowed by board approval at 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. With voter approval it can be raied to $1.34 per $1,000. A PPEL vote was defeated a few years ago.
General Obligation Bond funding is the final source (which is how Lincoln Center and the high school were originally built) and that takes a 60 percent vote of the people.