A-W makes plans for fourth school bond attempt

Posted April 18, 2019 at 7:02 pm

By Julie Ann Madden

The Akron-Westfield School Board’s consensus is to try to get voters to pass their bond plan again.

They held a work session March 11 to discuss their options.

At their April 8 meeting, Board President Nick Schoenfelder, who serves on the board’s Facilities Committee, reported committee members had met with Cannon Moss Brygger Architects (CMBA) on April 1. CMBA had managed the last (third) bond attempt, including designing the plan and its marketing campaign.

In addition to reviewing that plan, they discussed a marketing campaign for a fourth attempt, said Schoenfelder, adding they also informed CMBA staff what A-W’s 2019 Summer Projects would be and requested them to review the overall plan. The committee also asked for ideas for non-utilized spaces such as the former Home Ec classroom.

“They’ll put together a plan and get back to us within 30 days,” said Schoenfelder.

Furthermore, two proposed bond election dates were announced at the school board meeting:

• Nov. 5, 2019; or

• March 3, 2020.

Work Session Summary

The March 11 Work Session consisted of two parts: 1) The district’s 2019 Summer Projects of facility improvements and 2) The options for long-term facility improvements.


Board Member Nick Mathistad, who also serves on the Facilities Committee, reported the committee assessed the school facility’s current maintenance needs — regardless of the bond situation — and made a list of priorities for the annual Summer Improvement Projects.

The committee, which is currently tweaking a “10-Year Mechanical Plan” for the school facility, recommended four projects to be completed this summer:

1. Sanitary Sewer System Drainage. Due to slow sewage drainage issues, Mathistad said the facility’s sewer lines from the farthest point to its connection with the city’s main line need to be cleaned. This involves removing every urinal and toilet, checking every line to the manhole at the bottom of the school’s hill, cleaning them and reinstalling the urinals and toilets. This cleaning is estimated to take about four hours and cost about $7,500.

“We’d have an all clean system but there’s a good chance we’d run into broken pipes, problems,” said Mathistad.

2. Roof Replacement. Two roof areas need replacing but because of cost, they recommend just replacing “Area No. 3” now.

This project is budgeted at $438,000.

“Comfortably we’d be able to spend $400,000 – $600,000 this summer,” said Mathistad. “That get us (these two projects) with wiggle room for contingency (for unforeseen expenditures).”

3. Equipment Replacement. The committee recommended replacing the facility’s water heater, $30,000; the Elementary’s boilers, $85,000; and exterior Elementary unit ventilators, $80,000; for a project total estimate of $195,000.

The committee’s recommendation was to do the Elementary-Middle School boilers before the High School boilers as the latter have a few lifespan years left, said A-W Maintenance employee Chad Wendel.

“If things went well with sanitary and if roofing (bids) came in good, that would still put (projects) in the $600,000 range,” said Mathistad.

4. Security. The committee thought this would remain a bond project; however, Grades 7-12 Principal Derek Briggs said security is a problem.

It’s just not the human problem (of people propping doors open) but the mechanics of old doors, he explained.

5. Other Issues. Drainage at the playground entry is still an issue and backup generators are needed.

With the playground drainage issue, this will involve both the roofing above the entry and concrete sidewalk at the entry.

A backup generator failed many years ago and was not replaced due to cost.

The committee recommends two backup generators. One in the High School boiler room to operate the facility’s boilers, pumps and kitchen equipment and the second in the Elementary boiler room. Each would be on its own line system. Costs for these projects was not available at the work session.

“Budget-wise (these) are not something we can afford until next summer anyway,” said Mathistad.

“As funds become available, we can proceed down the list of items like we have been doing in past years,” said Mathistad. “You have a list of things you want to do but don’t have the money to do them all at once. We’ll work through that as they come up.”


Board Member Cory Tucker presented four bond options facing the board since the third bond attempt wasn’t passed by the district’s voters.

1. Keep the Bond Plan As Is — A one-story building addition with several areas improved through facility.

2. Go Back To Drawing Board. Do what we can with the current facility structure — construct no addition. If we do it this way, the board would have to decide which improvements to eliminate, said Tucker.

3. Do Not Attempt Another Bond. Create a time line, doing what we can until we run out of money, said Tucker.

“What can we get done and how long will it take — it’s not a pretty picture,” he said.

4. Sit On Our Hands. Take time and survey people and see what happens, Tucker explained.

The surveying, Tucker estimated at about $3,000, assuming digital surveying usage is free.

“Option Nos. 1 and 2 may require some surveying but at a different level,” said Tucker. “I think cost is going to be a lot less and survey will be very different.”

Board’s Consensus

The board blamed themselves for the failure of the third bond attempt, saying they cut out two-thirds of CMBA’s marketing campaign in hopes of saving 15 to 18 percent on construction costs. Their “poor marketing” didn’t get enough “yes” voters to the polls.

NEXT WEEK: Their Work Session Conclusion.

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