LOUISBURG — For Louisburg USD 416 patrons interested in learning what facility upgrades are most pressing in the district, a path of green dots will show them the way.
Megan Barnes and Hannah Dale with Hollis + Miller Architects placed poster board images of each district school building on stands at the far end of the school board meeting room Monday, June 10. Dale, project architect, handed green, orange and red dots to each board member and asked them to put dots on the items they deemed most important on the list — with the green dot being the highest priority.
The school board, community members and the architect have been discussing upgrades for the past few months.
Barnes, client leader, said the district’s Steering Committee and Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) had completed the same exercise at their recent meetings. The Steering group is made up of administrators from each building and the district administration. CAC includes representatives from a broad cross-section of the community. Anyone can attend the CAC meetings. The next CAC meeting is 6 p.m. Aug. 6 at the high school.
“This is all leading us towards getting everybody on the same page, building momentum and everybody’s buy-in and consensus,” Barnes said.
She said the exercise would show the school board members if there were any differentiators between their priorities and CAC and school administrators to help Hollis + Miller identify moving forward.
Identifying the top needs at each school will help whittle down the list, getting a cost estimate for those needs and devising the best option for a bond issue to put before voters in 2020 — with the purpose of upgrading the buildings, parking lots, sidewalks and school grounds, as well as other facility improvements.
The school district has been working with Hollis + Miller Architects since the mid-2000s. The Kansas City, Mo., firm was the architect for the Rockivlle Elementary construction project.
The school board’s priorities based on the clusters of green dots mirrored or were very close to the same priorities identified by the Steering Committee and CAC for each building.
At Circle Grove, roof repairs and window replacement/asbestos abatement were two of the top needs.
Superintendent Brian Biermann said the school is perfectly safe for the preschool children and staff at the facility, but once the windows are removed it’s likely the 1959 building will have some asbestos to remove, too.
At Rockville Elementary, the priorities included sidewalks and parking lot repairs and replacement, as well as a poured rubber surface for the playground.
The priorities at Broadmoor Elementary were a full roof replacement, HVAC replacement or upgrades, bringing natural gas into the building to lower electric bills and remodeling the 1970s interior to make it more functional.
Louisburg Middle School’s top needs were a high-wind room addition to make it comparable with shelters in the district’s other buildings, as well as roof repairs, sidewalk and parking lot repairs and designing a new route for vehicles dropping off and picking up students so cars do not have to stack up on a busy Kansas Highway 68.
Louisburg High School’s priorities included a multi-purpose addition, roof repairs, technology upgrades, HVAC repairs and a weight room.
As for other district facilities, the top priority was building a softball/baseball complex.
“If the city were to build a four-plex at Lewis-Young, they would have to raise taxes,” Biermann said. “We can build it with no tax increase.”
Barnes and Dale asked what would be some non-negotiables, those must-have items.
Board members said roof repairs, HVAC systems, safety and security, across the district, as well as a multi-purpose room at the high school and a high-wind addition at the middle school.
They also mentioned the need for parking lot and sidewalk repairs at several locations and fixing that “crazy circle thing” at the middle school that causes traffic to stack up on K-68.
“To me, non-negotiables have to be items that we’re trying to protect students and staff but also protect our investments,” Biermann said. “Tax dollars and bonds have built and maintained these (buildings). Some of these items have huge price tags. We can’t do roof replacements out of the capital outlay fund.”
He told members to think about the cost to repair their home roofs of 2,000 to 3,000 square feet.
“The roof at the high school alone is 212,000 square feet,” Biermann said.
Barnes and Dale concurred that protecting investments seemed to be a priority for everyone.
“Protecting investments, safety and security and upgrades in (building) efficiencies, I think, are starting to rise to the top,” Barnes said.
Hollis + Miller representatives will return at the school board’s Aug. 12 meeting to explore plan options.
“Then we’ll come back in October with two options for a bond next year,” Barnes said.