Capital improvements include expanded high school parking lot

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 4/18/01.

While the school district's general fund faces a large deficit, the district does have a balance in its capital expenditure fund, and approved spending a quarter million in improvements and repairs at the board meeting on Tuesday, April 10.

The $257,000 in improvements (see shaded box) include $90,000 for roof replacement at the middle school, $36,000 for new computers in the high school lab, $35,000 for expanding the high school parking lot, and $25,000 for underground sprinkling system of the athletic fields.

The item that caused the most debate at the meeting was the change to the high school parking lot around the new auditorium and fitness center. A lawn space between the addition and the parking lot was reduced, which should provide 30 extra parking spaces and have them closer to the new school entrance on the north side of the building.

The change also will reduce the amount of lawn by the addition, which should be a savings in maintenance with less mowing.

With the parking lot closer to the building, a concrete walkway could also be shortened. Making this change before this walkway was in place was important, because removing the walkway later and expanding the lot would cost more, superintendent Howard Caldwell told the board. "Now is the time to look at it," he said. "Rather than later when it would be more difficult to do."

Board member Deb Glenz was concerned about spending more money when the building project and the district's general fund both were showing deficits.

The district, though, has a balance in its capital expenditure fund. The district should have $90,000 remaining after this year, and it should receive another $280,000 for capital improvements next year, said Caldwell.

The project - while not coming at an ideal time from a financial aspect - is at an ideal time from a construction standpoint.

Pat Flanders, school board chairman, told the board that he is now confident that the building project - currently estimated at a $65,000 deficit - would end up better than that.

The largest item in the capital expenditure plan is roof replacement at the middle school, budgeted at $90,000. Not all of that may need to be spent though. Several portions of the roof will be inspected, and then a decision can be made.

Should less than that amount be spent, a number of alternatives (totalling $62,500) were included in the budget.

The high school computer lab in Room 131 will have 22 Macintosh computers replaced, its software upgraded, and a new server installed to link this lab with the computer lab in the business department. Eight computers in this lab will be kept.

The city of Paynesville has approved spending $7,500 to help with the installation of an underground sprinkling system on the athletic fields.

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