High school renovation project underway
The first sign of Fairfield High School’s two-year renovation project is heavy equipment beginning the dirt work to create a new parking lot and remove pavement at the old tennis courts west of FHS.
Work on the building will not begin until next spring and summer.
Earlier, the school board approved adding 47 parking spaces between the current west parking lot and the old tennis courts, and paving the south parking lot directly across Broadway Avenue from the school.
Monday, Auxiliary Services Director Fred McElwee presented the school board with three quotes from companies to remove the tennis courts.
“Our district employees have already removed the chain link fence to give easier access,” he said.
The tennis courts will not be part of the new parking lot, but rather provide a green space for fall football practice next year when equipment and construction will infringe on spaces.
“I have three quotes to remove the tennis courts and excess dirt west of FHS in order to create a usable green space which will be lost due to construction of the parking lot,” McElwee told the school board Monday.
“Estle Construction submitted the lowest bid and is able to work yet this fall while the other two firms would not be able to start until next spring. If this work is done now, the area could be seeded and ready for use late next summer, in time to be used for football practice.”
Estle Construction bid $16,200 to remove the tennis courts.
Cross Iron Excavating Inc. bid $37,550 and Drish Construction Inc. bid $39,598.
The board approved Estle Construction’s bid.
“When the new parking lot is installed, we’ll need additional lighting,” said McElwee. “I have two quotes for three light poles on concrete bases with two 400-watt metal halide lights on each pole. The lights will be located between the new and existing parking lots, lighting both lots.”
Live Wire Electric bid $11,801 and Zehr Electric bid $13,375.
The school board approved the lower quote from Live Wire Electric.
Another consideration to prepare for the construction/renovation project at the high school is the need to relocate the radio tower next to the vocational agriculture/auto shop.
“We propose moving the tower to the district transportation building,” said McElwee. “The tower transmits the radio system used in the school buses.”
McElwee said the radio vendor, Electronic Applications in Burlington, recommended Communication Construction Inc. of Bloomington, Ill., a provider specializing in tower installations.
“We received a quote for $13,359 from Communication Construction,” said McElwee. “We hope to schedule the work for the week of March 21, the district’s spring break, which would be close to the start of construction at FHS.”
The board approved the quote from Communication Construction.
Fairfield Middle School uses a chair lift for a student not able to climb stairs. The chair lift was installed in 1996 at a cost of $21,990.
“Recently, there have been many service issues with the lift, often times resulting in a service call which requires a technician to travel from Omaha, Neb.,” said McElwee. “The software, electronics and controls are obsolete with parts very difficult to obtain.
“We have a quote of $25,947 from Access Elevator and Lifts Inc. to replace and upgrade all equipment except the frame tubing and tower casing,” he said.
Even with the new chair lift, if it has a failure problem, it will take five to seven weeks to replace any equipment, McElwee said.
“It is our recommendation to move forward with the replacement,” he told the school board. “The chair lift is used daily by a middle school student and it’s expected it will continue to be used.”
The school board approved replacing the chair lift at FMS.
“We have the funds to move forward on all these items the board has approved,” said McElwee.
He shared a printout of the 2013-2014 school year facilities fund balances with work project budgets and actual costs.
“Six test soil bores have been made where the high school science addition is planned,” said McElwee. “We’re a little concerned that one bore showed a soil sample with hydrocarbons near the shop area.
“We want to make sure we’re environmentally and structurally OK there.”
McElwee said at some time in the past, before he came to work in the school district, an underground storage tank had been removed and the area cleaned up.
McElwee provided transportation costs and data from last school year, 2012-13:
• Fairfield school district had 16 regular morning and afternoon bus routes, two special-needs routes and 5.5 preschool routes.
• Educational and activity trips for students totaled 17,844 miles.
• Athletic trips totaled 25,629 miles.
• District buses traveled 1,688 miles transporting community groups, for which the district received reimbursement.
• The district’s 29 buses traveled a total of 349,300 miles.
• The district’s cars and suburbans traveled 70,929 miles.
• The district used 48,919 gallons of diesel fuel; the average cost for diesel, purchased 21 times throughout the school year, was $3.2218 per gallon; up 10-cents per gallon compared to the previous school year, 2011-12, when the district spent an average of $3.12 per gallon to buy diesel.
• The district used 9,532 gallons of gasohol; the average cost, purchased eight times throughout the year, was $2.8546 per gallon; down 2-cents per gallon compared to the previous school year, 2011-12, when the district spent an average of $2.87 per gallon.
• The average cost per pupil transported was $596.43.
• The average cost per mile traveled by school buses was $2.89.
In August, McElwee invited three area fuel suppliers to visit with the school board and two had met with the board to explain the process of purchasing fuel from one vendor for the school year, based on the cost of fuel using the daily rack average posted by the Iowa Department of Transportation plus vendor margins.
McElwee asked the board Monday to approve the district seeking fuel bids for this process.
Previously, the district would call around to vendors and receive spot bids when the district wanted to purchase more fuel.
“All they would be bidding on is their transportation costs [of delivering the fuel to the district’s storage tank] and their profit margin,” said board member Jerry Nelson.
McElwee said yes, because the daily rack average will be the same from all vendors.
The length of the fuel bid agreement will be from Nov. 19, 2013, through June 30, 2015.
The board approved the district seeking bids and McElwee will bring the bid quotes to the Nov. 18 school board meeting for approval.