833 submits wish list for economic stimulus fundingSchool District 833 has a list of projects totaling $23 million that it’s submitting to the area’s federal representatives.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
School District 833 has a list of projects totaling $23 million that it’s submitting to the area’s federal representatives.
Mike Vogel, who is assistant to the superintendent for operations, told the School Board at the Jan. 22 workshop meeting that the district has been asked by politicians and lobbyists for a list of projects that could be completed in the near future to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
Many of the projects are already listed in the district’s 10-year alternative facilities plan or the 10-year technology improvement plan funded by a voter-approved referendum in 2006.
The remaining projects, such as paying for a 12,000 square foot community arts theater to be added to East Ridge High School, don’t qualify for either funding source, Vogel said.
Another project not currently in district construction plans is building a four-classroom addition that would connect Woodbury Elementary School to Woodbury Middle School.
When combined with four classrooms now used for sixth-grade students, the new rooms could be designed to emphasize technology and provide additional middle-school space, according to Vogel.
While Woodbury has not yet passed an ordinance allowing construction of wind turbines, it’s still on the list of things the district wants to build at East Ridge High School. A 250-kilowatt turbine would provide 15 to 25 percent of the school’s energy. The $1.5 million structure could be a learning station for environmental science classes, according to the district’s list.
“Ironically, the wind turbine probably has the best chance of being funded,” said Jim Gelbmann, board member, because it would provide clean domestic power.
Congress will appropriate the money, Gelbmann said, but federal agencies will decide how to spend it. Politicians have promised the bill will not contain “earmarks” or pet projects from federal representatives, he said.
If it’s funded, there is a long wait time to get a turbine, Vogel said.
Vogel said the district is behind other districts in submitting its list, but it’s also “way ahead” of other districts because the design and engineering is done on most of the listed items.
Other projects on the list include replacing single-pane windows at Park High School and Pullman and Pine Hill elementary schools and replacing 40-year-old maintenance-intensive mechanical systems in the Oltman Middle School pool area and Hillside and Woodbury elementary schools.
Installing wireless Internet at all district schools is also on the list in addition to roof replacement at Bailey, Grey Cloud and Middleton elementary schools.
The list also includes installing an “energy recovery chiller” to eliminate boiler operation in the summer at Park High School and building interior walls and doors to create security vestibules at eight elementary schools.
“They are not being submitted in order of priority,” Vogel said. “They’re going to gauge them on what’s best for the economy, not us.”
Judy Spooner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.