Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 16, 2018

Pence construction ahead of schedule

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Jul 21, 2017
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo The grassy area south of Pence Elementary School has been torn up to accommodate a new geothermal heating and cooling system.

Fairfield Community School District superintendent Laurie Noll said the Pence Elementary School construction project is moving ahead of schedule.

“So far, all of the dates have been hit, and the project is moving along smoothly,” Noll said, explaining that everything should be completed by the start of the 2017-18 school year Sept. 5.

“The well drilling was Tuesday, and all is done. They will be testing those wells in a couple of weeks. The fire marshal will be assessing the north and south wings of the building [Tuesday]. This is all part of the normal protocol that happens with any construction,” she said. “We should be able to start getting into the north-wing classrooms Aug. 1. The south-wing should be turned back over to the district Aug. 8. Of course, this is contingent upon the contractors, and things can happen, but that is the tentative plan.”

Once sections of the building are handed back over to the district, Noll said school maintenance employees would begin the process of returning items that were put in pods earlier this summer.

The $3.5 million project, which began just after the start of summer break, includes new heating and air conditioning for the school, new lighting and roof and a new gymnasium floor.

Noll said Pence was constructed in 1954, and the school still had it’s original gymnasium floor.

“The floor is well needed,” Noll said. “It’s part of the original building and it has holes in it.”

In addition to upgrades at Pence, Fairfield Middle School will have an expanded and repaved parking lot. The new lot costs $552,000.

“The new parking lot will extend toward the ball area and offer more parking. The concrete also will be taken up and replaced,” Noll said. “This is a three-phase project that should also be completed before school starts.”

Noll said the total project, which includes upgrades at both schools, was funded using Secure an Advanced Vision for Education funds.

SAVE funds, formerly known as the statewide school infrastructure sales and services tax or the local option sales and services tax are specifically intended for use on school infrastructure.

“That’s the penny sales tax,” Noll said, adding that the funds could only be used for things, such as maintaining buildings or for computers under Iowa Code 298.3

“By using that penny tax, we are truly using it to offset the costs to the tax payers,” she said.

The district intends to invite state legislators here to show them the improvements it is doing with SAVE funds.

“Hopefully we will have our legslators here within the next couple of weeks touring the building,” Noll said. “We want to show them our facilities, and that we are using the SAVE money exactly for what it is intended for, which is to upgrade and maintain our buildings.”

Noll said the district bonded $4.1 million in expected SAVE funds through 2029.

“Piper Jafrey worked with the board and said that [the school district] is financially stable and that it would be all right to use the money,” Noll said.






Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.