ALTAMONT — The Labette County USD 506 Board of Education received good news Monday night concerning window replacement projects at district grade schools.
Following the April board meeting, Superintendent John Wyrick said the district learned that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment approved another $1.4 million in funding to go toward more window projects for the K-8 buildings in the district.
KDHE had COVID money leftover that it wanted to put toward more ventilation in facilities across the state. KDHE reached out to every school district that was a part of the testing process three years ago, informing them they could be eligible for up to $150,000 per building.
USD 506 applied for funding for each of the grade school buildings, Harrison Auditorium, Haury Hall, the Labette County High School agricultural education building and the district administration office. Each site received $150,000.
“What that does for us is that frees up ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) fund money to go toward other areas in the district,” Wyrick said.
The district will make an amendment to the district’s ESSER III application as a result of receiving KDHE grant money.
“We will bring the ESSER III committee back together this summer and look at areas they still believe are priorities in the district from an academic side as well as a physical plant side and make recommendations to the board on how they would like to amend the ESSER III application,” Wyrick said.
KDHE funding is especially good news following the district being informed that due to the determination that Altamont Grade School is a historical building because of its design, and federal funds are being used, it required specific windows be installed that coordinate with the design. This escalated the estimated cost of the project far above other grade schools, bringing the total of the project to around $195,700. Assistant Superintendent Shane Holtzman said the $150,000 from KDHE will help relieve the financial costs on the district for that project.
Last year, at this time the ESSER committee had prioritized the use of funding, focusing first on heating, ventilation and air-conditioning replacement, then technology for career and technical education. Window replacement was third on their list. Wyrick said they had thought they would only have $100,000 to go toward new windows. Now between the ESSER III and KDHE funds, all three projects are fully funded.
HVAC at LCHS
KDHE also provided funding for certain HVAC projects at the LCHS.
“The one we are most excited about is the one in Harrison Gymnasium. We have the original 1958 boilers, and those boilers were put in place and they built the building around it. We have enough money now to replace those boilers as a part of the KDHE grant,” Wyrick said. “This is something that was on our bond initiative that failed five or six years ago.”
To complete that project, Wyrick said they will have to contract Ray Roofing to cut a section out of the flat roof. The roofing company will have to disassemble all the boilers, hire a crane to remove them through that hole in the roof, bring in new boilers and then repair the roof.
“That will be a massive project. It’s just a blessing from God that as a result of a tragedy with COVID, something good came out of it for our school district,” Wyrick said.
Meadow View parking
Drainage in front of Meadow View Grade School has been an ongoing problem for years.
“The school sits lower than the road so when it rains the water runs downhill,” Wyrick said. “We’ve fought for 15 to 20 years keeping water out of the building.”
As the district continues to bring in more rock every year for the parking lot, the problem is being exacerbated.
The district has worked with a civil and site engineer from Wichita to put together a plan.
Based on the engineer’s recommendations, the board approved the district administration putting out bid specs to see what it would cost to concrete the parking lot in front and fix the drainage issues.
IN OTHER BUSINESS, the board:
— Approved the district transferring the property it purchased across from Altamont Grade School to the couple who first approached the district about having the high school building and trade students build them a custom home on it. The foundation work has begun, and in order for the couple to draw down on their construction loan, they have to have the property transferred to them.
— Approved the purchase of a new Suburban from Tom Davis at a cost of $54,045. The last time the district purchased a Suburban was 2013.
— Approved hiring Travis Cook for district maintenance; Autumn Dickens as instructor at Meadow View Grade School; Riley Doyle as Meadow View paraprofessional; and Ashley Hill as half-time Title I teacher and half-time mentor coach.
— Approved the resignations of Ruth Halie, cook at Meadow View; Carson John, district maintenance; Jamie Rucker, paraprofessional at Meadow View; and Bethany Thompson, paraprofessional at Bartlett Grade School.
— Approved the transfer of Lisa Allison from preschool instructor at AGS to kindergarten instructor at AGS and Jaya Johnson from kindergarten instructor at AGS to eighth grade instructor/title at AGS.
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