Mitchell Community Schools board discuss potential future improvements across district

MITCHELL – The Mitchell Community Schools board met for a work session on Tuesday, where they, along with superintendent Brent Comer, discussed necessary improvements throughout the district that will likely be part of planning.

Dr. Brent Comer

Sanitary Line

Comer suggested the board potentially look to replace the sanitary line currently located in front of Mitchell High School. He said the line, built in three-foot sections of clay tile, is showing signs of its old age and needs to be unclogged every three to six months. A replacement would cost the district an estimated $46,912, according to Comer. He recommended the board potentially address this issue within the next year, because eventually maintenance costs will add up to the total sum of the replacement, with each fix costs around $5,000, he estimated.

Door locks for MHS classrooms

The next suggested improvement was new locks for the classrooms at MHS. Comer said it would cost an estimated $15,890 to replace each classroom door lock at the high school with a new, standard lock. He said consideration was given to replacing each lock with a key fob system, however the cost was too great, with the price tag at $250,000 to bring that upgrade across MCS. Comer said the district likely has enough Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSR) funds remaining to cover this expense.

Fire alarm system at Burris Elementary

With the fire alarm system at Burris Elementary now outdated, an update should on the horizon for MCS, Comer told the board. He said there are two operations for approaching a fix for this. The first being a patch-style fix to keep it operational for the time being, which would keep the current system running as best is can for now, costing $8,949. The other option is a total replacement with a newer system, which would cost an estimated $32,000. Comer suggested the board consider a full replacement, as the operating system for their current setup has become obsolete and the entire system would likely need to be upgraded in the near future anyway, even if repairs are made in the short term.

PA system at Burris

Will all other MCS schools having had their PA systems upgraded, Burris Elementary is the last on the list to have theirs updated. Comer said that the cost for this project will range from around $32,000 to as much as around $53,000. The lower cost would be for an upgrade of the current system, with some of the wiring from the current one remaining intact. The more expensive option is for a total replacement. Because of the age of the current system, Comer said he is hesitant to suggest anything other than a complete replacement. He feels this could become a safety issue, should staff at Burris need to make a school-wide announcement, but not be able to use the PA system.

Bus camera upgrades

Next on Comer’s list was upgrades of the cameras on the district’s buses. One option for the upgrade, with an estimated cost of around $125,000, would be similar to what the vehicles already have, with some additional cameras placed throughout the buses. With this option, the footage would be stored on a DVR-like system. The other option, priced at $180,479, would come with upgraded cameras, like the first, but with livestreaming capabilities, trackable GPS systems for the buses and a cloud-based storage system for the recorded footage. Comer said the cloud system would require an annual subscription, which would cost MCS an additional $5,112 each year.

Roofing repairs

Also on the list were replacements for sections of the school buildings’ roofs. Based on the feedback MCS received from contractors, some areas need attention sooner than others. The area most urgently needing work is a section of MHS, specifically the roof covering the main long hallway section of the school, Comer said. He said experts recommended that section be replaced with two to four years. The total amount estimated for all roof replacements, which is based on the lowest estimates of three quotes received, amounts to around $2.6 million.