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MHS East project would cost $10.9M

By Bryan Richardson

It would cost the Manhattan-Ogden school district up to $10.9 million to do all the renovations listed in a facility analysis of the Manhattan High School east campus.

Gould Evans, the company conducting the analysis, presented its analysis of the needs to the USD 383 school board Wednesday.

The board commissioned the analysis after removing many of the same elements from the just-completed $97.5 million bond issue for school construction and renovation. Those efforts were excluded in an effort to hold down the bond issue’s cost.

According to the report, the top priority issues are roof replacement for the cafeteria, drainage improvements on the south side, removing asbestos from the steam tunnels, foundation drainage and waterproofing, and adding identification devices at the end of Houston Street.

Gould Evans ranked the rest of the projects by priority: the west wing renovation, east wing and annex renovation, and cafeteria renovation and adding seating to the auditorium.

These renovations would include a new mechanical system, elevator, electrical service, and fire sprinkler system, roof repairs, asbestos abatement and building code improvements.

Board member Pete Paukstelis said he wondered whether doing just the listed things would amount to “putting lipstick on a pig.”

“We’d be making $10 million of investment to bring the building up to 20 to 25 year usability,” he said. Paukstelis wondered whether it would be better to spend $20 million or whatever was needed to produce a renovation on the scale of the west campus. Adams Sterns of Gould Evans said the district would need to figure out the purpose of the building, but he added that things such as the elevator and chiller can’t wait.

“You’re going to have some real needs here in the next five years,” he said. Board member Beth Tatarko said it’s good to envision whether MHS East is a 20-year building that can be built into a 50-year building if that is needed, such as for use as another high school. “Whatever we do and whatever investments we make, we don’t want to undo those,” she said.

Board president Dave Colburn said $10 million would be a bond issue price tag. He said there are other things that need to be considered including the possibility of another elementary school and taking the next steps identified during the development of the $97.5 million bond issue.

“We’re going to have to have a pretty serious visioning session that isn’t just about this building,” he said.

Salaries and wages

USD 383 salaries are closer to being at the level of Lawrence USD 497, according to information presented by Supt. Bob Shannon. USD 383 uses Lawrence and Auburn Washburn USD 437 as their most similar districts.

In 2011-12, the average teacher salary with benefits at USD 383 was $49,757, compared to $51,378 in Lawrence. In 2012-13, USD 383 improved. USD 383 pulled ahead of Auburn Washburn, whose average teacher salary with benefits was $50,675 in 2011-12 and $51,192 in 2012-13.


Other actions

* The board accepted the first reading of the development of a new website. Its launch is expected in September.

* The board approved the installation of “innovation stations” in libraries at the elementary schools, middle schools and MHS East. An innovation station is a dedicated technology teaching space with an LCD projector, powered speakers, Apple TV and a wall panel for various jacks.

* The board approved Eugene Field playground surfacing and carpet, and tile replacement at Bergman Elementary.

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