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Jamestown school board OKs summer projects, plan revisions

Work on the projects is scheduled to start this summer.

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Two students make their way into Jamestown Middle School Tuesday, April 19, 2022. Projects at the Middle School include adding air cooling to all classrooms and repairing and replacing windows.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Public School Board unanimously approved revisions to the school district’s capital project plans and summer projects on Monday, April 18.

Projects include building an athletic training and wellness addition at Jamestown High School, repairing and replacing windows, adding air cooling to all classrooms at Jamestown Middle School and replacing the HVAC system at Gussner Elementary School.

Other projects include additional asbestos abatement resulting from the HVAC project at Gussner, repairing the generator at Jamestown High School, additional window repairs or replacements across the school district and extending a fence at Lincoln Elementary School due to the removal of the old transition house.

“They are all very needed priorities for the district,” said Rob Lech, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools, in a telephone interview before the school board meeting. “It is a good opportunity to look at some of the funding that came in through the ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) programs and indirectly impact those projects, allowing us to address some capital projects that we haven’t been able to do otherwise.”

Lech said the athletic training and wellness addition will cost more than $1 million, the HVAC replacement at Gussner is more than $2.7 million, and the projects at Jamestown Middle School are more than $2.8 million.

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Work on the projects is scheduled to start this summer. The total cost of the projects is about $7.3 million, which includes the design costs, he said.

“The district will use building fund dollars, which includes a refinance that was done a few years ago to support the (Charlotte and Gordon) Hansen Stadium,” he said. “The district’s commitment of $2 million, we did a refinance there. That is the remaining portion of that. Those certificates of indebtedness from that refinance, that is about $1.4 million, and our building fund covers the rest.”

Lech said federal funds were received from the ESSER Fund due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said the school board wanted to use ESSER funds on projects that would have a long-term impact for the school district. The funds allow the school district to expedite some facility projects and address other projects that the district wouldn’t be able to do without the funding, he said.

“Just the scope of some of these projects would be very challenging to do without reaching out to taxpayers and asking for help,” he said.

The school district has adopted a defined facility planning and summer maintenance process to prioritize facility needs and how to most effectively utilize its limited funding to maintain and improve district facilities, according to Lech’s superintendent report for the school board meeting on March 21.

Lech said the projects are out for bids. He wrote in the superintendent’s report that approval of the capital projects plan will include a future general fund transfer to the building fund of more than $5.5 million for the primary projects, which equates to about 70% of all ESSER funding received.

“Along with the remainder of the 2020 Certificates of Indebtedness and planned Building Fund revenue, this will allow the district to appropriate fund and cash flow all summer projects and proposed facility projects and general maintenance needs,” he wrote.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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