Janesville school maintenance needs exceed budget, for now

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Saturday, April 21, 2012
— Janesville public school buildings are in good shape, but that could change if the district does not keep up with maintenance, a school board member said Friday.

The district budgeted only $670,000 for major maintenance projects and capital improvements this year, said Greg Ardrey, who heads the board’s finance/building and grounds committee.

The newly released capital improvement plan calls for a whopping $2.8 million in spending in 2012-13.

The plan will be introduced at the board’s meeting Tuesday. No action is planned, although board members could discuss it.

The board has trimmed the budget for major maintenance and replacement projects over the past two years as it sought ways to balance the budget, Ardrey said.

“We can’t continue with a $600,000 budget in that area and continue to maintain the buildings as we have,” Ardrey said. “We’ll have to bump that up.”

Dedicating more money to buildings is easier said than done. The board faces a budget deficit of up to $10 million in the coming year, officials have said.

The capital improvement plan lists projects estimated to total more than $11 million over the next five years.

“At some point, we will need to increase our capital budget to start addressing some of those projects,” Ardrey said.

Ardrey suggested selecting one major project each year, starting with the deteriorating Jackson Elementary School roof. The district recently received bids on the roof repair, which was estimated at $485,000.

The plan also calls for replacement of the aging boiler and classroom ventilation units at Franklin Middle School in the coming year. That project is estimated at about $1 million.

In addition to replacing things that wear out, the district schedules regular work to keep facilities and equipment performing efficiently. Boiler maintenance in the coming year would cost about $105,000, for example. Bleacher repair districtwide is listed at $30,000. Preventive maintenance on pneumatic controls, which should increase heating and cooling efficiency, is listed at $130,524.

The cost to replace single-pane windows at Edison Middle School is estimated at $300,000.

The plan shows $2.8 million in needs next year, another $2.5 million the year after and $6.3 million over the three years after that.

The district’s facilities, parking lots, infrastructure, equipment, sports fields, etc., are in constant need of repair, replacement or expansion, according to the plan.

For instance, the main doors at Franklin Middle School are original equipment, circa 1962. They are wearing out, causing issues with security and the opening and closing of the doors. Replacing them could cost $40,000.

The plan shows major projects needed at 14 of the district’s 17 school buildings at some time over the next five years. The schools with the highest dollar amounts are Edison at $1.24 million, Lincoln Elementary at $620,000 and Jackson at $557,000.

Most of the Jackson cost is a new roof. Lincoln’s major projects are a roof and boiler replacement.

Edison is listed as needing new lighting, locker doors, carpet, floor tile replacements, painting, tennis court repair and parking lot replacement, among other items.

Many of the Edison projects would replace original equipment. The school was built in 1971.

If you go

The Janesville School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St.

The meeting will begin with election of officers for the coming year, starting with board president.

The meeting will be broadcast live on Janesville cable Channel 96/993. They will be shown again at 9 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and on Monday, April 30; Tuesday, May 1; Wednesday, May 2; Thursday May 3; and Friday, May 4.

Last updated: 8:06 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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