Janesville46.2°

Clinton officials seeking to improve school safety, space

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 21, 2008
— Times are tough.

But Clinton School District officials are keeping the long-term quality of the district's facilities in mind.


Voters will decide Nov. 4 if the district can spend $9.63 million to upgrade its three buildings. Most of the work would happen at Clinton Elementary School, although the district hopes for security updates at the middle and high schools as well. A 20-year loan for improvements could add up to 30 years of additional life for the elementary school, Administrator Pam Kiefert said.


"The need is there now, and the need's not going to go away," board President Randy Gracyalny said. "Even though it is a difficult time, there are always things that make it difficult in individual households, no matter when we go to referendum."


Work toward the referendum started in 2006 with a committee that came up with a list of needs, not wants, Kiefert said. They include:


-- Improvements to the loading and unloading area for buses at the elementary school to separate bus, car and pedestrian traffic in the hectic parking lot.


-- Expansion of hallways and some classrooms as well as separate gym and cafeteria space. Hallway lighting would be upgraded from bare fluorescent bulbs, and floor and ceiling tiles in hallways and classrooms would be replaced.


-- Improvements to the school's heating and air exchange systems. Plans are to replace the outdated "Univent" heating and air exchange units. The old models are tough to maintain, janitor John Schoville said, because replacement parts are hard or impossible to get.


-- Replacing the district's old boilers with a geothermal heating and cooling system. Geothermal costs a little more to buildó$1.69 million versus $1.49 million for a conventional heating system, Business Manager Kathy Zwirgzdas said. But depending on the way savings are calculated, geothermal would pay for itself in up to 7.7 years, she said. These numbers were newly calculated Aug. 4.


A geothermal system uses pipes to pump liquid deep underground. In summer or winter, the system would heat or cool the liquid and pump it back through the school to warm or cool it.


-- A new access road that would open ambulance access to football games and keep delivery trucks off the playground.


-- Plans include installing cameras at all three schools and installing doors capable of locking down at the middle and high schools. The elementary building already can be locked down, but moving the school office closer to an entryway would help receptionists better monitor visitors.



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