Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 25, 2014

BPS upgrades are funded

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

---- — Attorney Doug Wilson conducted a public hearing at the March 17 Batesville Community School Corp. meeting about spending at most $2 million to address mechanical needs at the 23-year-old Batesville Primary School.

Noting that most heating and cooling devices have life cycles of 15-20 years, consultant Tim Pitts of EMCOR Construction Services, Fort Wayne, said the new equipment and repairs will conserve energy and save money. He recommended a new cooling system, boiler, water heater and classroom variable air volume boxes. In addition, digital controls should be upgraded, existing equipment fine-tuned and the roof needs repairs with certain sections being replaced.

Lindsay Simonetto, H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, Indianapolis, manager, said a $2 million bond with a 3.41 percent net interest rate would be repaid over 10 years. The estimated interest expense would be $375,596 and the maximum annual payment was projected at $266,498.

If the trustees voted to go ahead with the work, she spelled out what the project would mean to taxpayers. The maximum tax rate is $.0382. The annual property tax impact: $100,000 home, $12.51; $150,000 home, $24.93; $178,900 home (BCSC's median home value), $32.10; $200,000 home, $37.34; $250,000 home, $49.76; $100,000 rental or commercial property, $38.20; 1 acre of farmland, $0.78. The last two figures can be multiplied.

Jade Ritter questioned the roof repair, estimated to cost almost $500,000. "What is wrong with that roof that it needs that kind of money?" Tim Hunter, BCSC director of buildings and grounds, said, "There have been leaking issues off and on throughout the life of the building." Fasteners and valley flashings need to be repaired because of the way different hallways branch off. The blue sealant, which lasts for six to eight years, has broken down and a new coating should be applied. According to him, "If it's not addressed, that price would probably double."

Ritter asked, "What would it cost to replace the roof?" Pitts' answer was around $1.5 million.

Trustee Cindy Blessing asked why classroom boxes that control air flow must be replaced. "There are no replacement parts" and air would become stagnant if they didn't work, Pitts pointed out. They are mounted in the ceiling above each classroom. "If we have to replace them one at a time,” it would be more expensive.

Doug Amberger asked about priorities if bids total over $2 million. Hunter listed the chiller, boiler and water heater. They should be installed at the same time because "there are efficiencies there."

Pitts was to meet with eight potential bidders March 18 to go over specifications. It's a no-change-order process, so bids will be stable and not fluctuate later, according to him.

Trustees voted to adopt three resolutions about the project, preliminary bond and reimbursements.

Superintendent Dr. Jim Roberts detailed Capital Projects Fund expenditures over the past few years. For possible future expansion, four properties near Batesville Intermediate School and Batesville Middle School have been purchased and money has been spent on building projects, such as the Batesville High School offices and media center renovation, and IT improvements.

In 2012, $1.07 million was spent on capital projects and in 2013, $592,438. As the 1:1 computer initiative began, "we had to learn how to put all the technology into place," he explained.

In fact, last year $323,700 or 55 percent was spent on tech, including upgrading the wireless infrastructure and 1:1: Apple Financial Services, $103,860; ENA, $42,054; Emerge IT Solutions, $33,878; Xerox, $32,418; CDW Government, $30,479; Apple Inc., $28,969; Office Shop, $27,317; and NWEA (computerized testing), $24,725.

As the General Fund balance has risen, the Capital Projects Fund balance has fallen, Hunter observed. "We focused always on the General Fund for the last several years, because that balance has been low … The Capital Projects Fund is made to go up and down" as dollars are accumulated for future projects, then spent.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

More discussion topics • Roberts asked trustees to volunteer to serve on a recommendation committee to decide if and/or how to proceed with random drug testing. Two trustees can serve on the committee so there won't be a BCSC quorum. • BCSC was given $2,000 from the Shopko Help us Give Back Campaign. The superintendent said, "Shopko has been a good friend in our community We will put that to good use." • Indiana State Department of Health leaders recommended that Roberts discuss school health issues with Hoosier legislators in Washington, D.C., March 31-April 1. He will do that at no cost to BCSC. • Because BCSC lost some students between the fall and spring count days, "that does change the amount of money coming into our coffers" from the state, Roberts reported. The school district was educating 2,058 students (kindergartners counted as half) as of Feb. 3, 29.5 students less than in the fall. Thirteen students graduated, five students returned to their home countries, eight chose to be homeschooled and two students dropped out or were expelled. • Transportation workers who drive regular bus routes, to and from Southeastern Career Center and extracurricularly and deliver mail between buildings received 2.5 percent increases to their daily rates. • The Rev. David Johnston of St. John United Church of Christ, Huntersville, asked trustees to consider re-instituting the end-of-the-school-year Parade of Honors, which spotlighted students who excel in various categories. He recalled when his three children attended those ceremonies, "they'd come home and talk about" outstanding students. "That gave them an added incentive to work hard."