(BLOOMFIELD) - The Bloomfield Board of School Trustees stepped forward Thursday night and passed a series of resolutions related to engaging in a $4 million construction/renovation project.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, the board conducted a public hearing on a proposed $2 million HVAC and roofing project at Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School; and a $2 million outdoor physical education project on a 22-acre site purchased in 2011, located about eight miles south of Bloomfield, just off of U.S. 231.
No patrons were present at the meeting to offer comment about either project during the 45-minute public hearing.
Supt. Dan Sichting told the board that development of a master plan will be the first thing done in the outdoor facilities project followed by construction of infrastructure to provide access to the site.
Building of a track and field facility was tabbed a top priority in the outdoor plan.
"The reason for this project is if you look at our current track it shouldn't take you very long to understand that something needs to be done," Sichting said. "The track is one-quarter regulation length, it's dirt. If you look at schools around us, they have nice tracks and we don't."
Second in priority is the construction of six tennis courts.
The superintendent said the current three tennis courts are inadequate to host home tennis matches.
There is also a need to construct a new baseball field.
Presently, the school baseball field is short of regulation distance in right field, which measures only 225 feet, Sichting pointed out.
In addition, the school does not have its own softball field and uses the Northside Diamonds.
Sichting ranked building a baseball field a third priority followed by a softball field and then other field facilities for either soccer or football.
"Our current facilities do not allow for adding any programs. We are land-locked so we can't add a soccer field and we can't add a football field where we are," Sichting said. "This project will allow us in the future if we want to add new programs. There is plenty of space."
Sichting also told the board that the lack of adequate outdoor athletic facilities has hurt enrollment and even prevented some prospective students from deciding to attend the Bloomfield schools.
"We've had parents and students who have come here to look at our schools that were moving into the area that looked at our outdoor education facilities and decided to enroll in another school," Sichting explained. "We can stack up with anybody in terms of academics, but this (outdoor facilities) is a problem in attracting new students to our school corporation because we do not have facilities that other school corporations around us do."
The superintendent said the board should plan and construct the outdoor facilities in a way to include construction of additional buildings at the site, if necessary.
"We want to have a plan where each of the facilities that we are talking about is going to be built so that they don't have to be moved later in case something comes up that we need to build facilities out there," he said.
Pertaining to the roof project at the junior-senior high school building, Sichting said it appears the roof over the junior high building was improperly installed in the early 1990s allowing areas of moisture to pool and resulting in damage to the roof membrane.
"The roof has been patched and maintenance has been ongoing on this portion of the roof," the superintendent said.
Other HVAC equipment at the school has been installed for about 28 years with life expectancy already exceeded by several years on much of the air flow, controls, pumps, roof top heating and cooling units, hot water heaters and chillers.
It needs replaced.
"We are not doing the project to make our high school more energy efficient. We are doing our project because the equipment is nearing its life expectancy and needs to be replaced," Sichting stated.
Roof repairs were estimated at $300,000 with the other inside work estimated to cost between $1.5 and $1.7 million.
Construction costs of both projects was estimated at $1.8 million each with an additional $400,000 in soft costs that includes bonding expenses, legal fees and financial costs for both projects.
Sichting said this is a good time to consider these projects because the district will be debt-free in 2016 and assessed valuation is up by about $2 million, which should result in a net zero increase in the tax rate.
A building corporation was also formed Thursday night including Randall Burcham, Marvin Helms and Keith Hanauer -- all former school board members. The building corporation will issue the bonds and own the facilities that will be leased to the school corporation.
A public hearing on the proposed lease was set for Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.
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