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FAYETTEVILLE -- The School Board on Thursday approved adding air-conditioning to gymnasiums for Ramay and Woodland junior high schools.

A proposal to replace 10 school buses will come back to the School Board next month.

Fayetteville School Board

• Justin Eichmann, president

• Traci Farrah, vice president

• Nika Waitsman, secretary/treasurer

• Susan Heil

• Tim Hudson

• Megan Hurley

• Bob Maranto


The junior high school gymnasiums not only provide space for athletic competitions, but are used for physical education classes, student assemblies and band concerts, School Board President Justin Eichmann said.

"It gets to be pretty sweltering," Eichmann said.

Discussions about air-conditioning the gymnasiums have been ongoing since at least 2006, said John L Colbert, associate superintendent for support services. Having the project approved Thursday provides time for the work to finish for the start of the new school year.

The School Board in August approved refinancing some bonds at a lower interest rate, Superintendent Matthew Wendt said. Refinancing the debt provided the district with about $1 million that will cover the cost of the project.

The project will cost $932,750, with Milestone Construction Management serving as the construction management team, according to information from the School District. The project will consist eight rooftop units for Ramay and seven for Woodland, as well as fabric duct systems for both schools.

A district report states the average temperature in the gymnasiums from July through September can reach 90 degrees. No air-conditioning systems are in the gymnasiums, nor the dressing rooms.

"It was very clear this was important to our community," Wendt said. "We put in place an opportunity to move forward."

Wendt also wants to infuse money into the district's transportation system. The district has received bids from three companies, with buses priced at $90,986 from Summit Bus, $91,528 from Midwest Bus Sales and $102,795 from Central State Bus Sales. The cost of cameras and seat belts is an additional $10,620 per bus.

This would be the largest purchase of buses since Tommy Davenport, director of transportation services, joined the department in 1996, he said. New buses come with a five-year warranty and have safer, more efficient braking systems, he said.

"I'm excited about it," he said.

If approved, the new buses would be distributed throughout the district, he said.

The district's inventory of buses has been upgraded over time with the purchase of a couple of buses each year, but 21 of the 70 buses in the district's fleet have been in service for 17 to 26 years.

"We'd like to reduce that," Colbert said.

Colbert said he receives a call every week or so about a bus breaking down.

The 10 new buses would replace buses at least 20 years old, Wendt said. He wants the new buses to have seat belts.

Money for buying buses this year would come out of district savings, Wendt said. He intends to upgrade 20 to 30 buses over the next few years so district buses are no more than 10 to 15 years old.

NW News on 03/31/2017

Print Headline: School Board approves cooling gymnasiums

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