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Posted: 08/06/14

NEW LIGHTS. Seen above is one of two light poles at Barnabo Field that were knocked down during severe weather in April. The district is in the midst of replacing the fallen lighting, and expects to have them up by mid-August. The Board of Education has also approved of $162,500 in sinking fund projects throughout the district.

(Observer file photo)

RCS replaces stadium lights,
approves projects

Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Community Schools is addressing damage to equipment and grounds caused by the record-breaking winter and severe thunderstorms.
       A $250,000 project is replacing two light towers at Barnabo Field that fell during severe weather this past spring, and are expected to be up by next week.
       In addition, the Board of Education passed three resolutions on July 21 that will maintain or improve the grounds and operations of the district, including creating space for a growing robotics program.
       The stadium light towers were knocked down when severe thunderstorms swept through the area on April 12.
       Executive Director of Maintenance and Operations Don Gratton said the replacements will be 70- to 80-foot steel towers that will be set back from the original locations to accommodate any future changes at the stadium.
       The footings were installed on July 31. The project is expected to be completed next week.
       He said the district will have the majority of the $250,000 replacement cost covered through insurance, but will have to pay its deductible.
       "If we can do it with the sinking fund, we'll do it what that," he said.
       When asked if the lights would be LEDs, Gratton said LED lights are not efficient for stadium use since they are not always on, so the return back on the investment would not be cost-effective. Even so, he said they will be more energy efficient since it'll be updated technology.
       Metro Electric is installing the lighting through Musco Lighting, a company known for providing lighting for major sports events like the Super Bowl and Olympics.
       The district is in the midst of preparing a $7 million bond proposal that will renovate Barnabo Field. If approved, the bond would replace the field with synthetic turf, expand the bleachers and build new facilities for teams, concessions, ticket booths and storage.
Sinking fund projects

       A combined total of $162,500 in sinking fund dollars has been approved for classroom renovations, replacing a sewage grinder and parking lot fixes around the district.
       The board agreed to spending no more than $70,000 to renovate the current art classroom at Romeo High School to accommodate the robotics program.
       Robotics is normally housed in one of the team's corporate sponsors, but the company is no longer able to do so.
       Gratton said the renovations weren't on the original projects for the 2013-14 sinking fund, but the classroom is a need.
       "We're re-purposing some classrooms," he said. "We're getting rid of old casework, putting some doorways in and handicap access."
       As of last week the district is in the midst of drawing up the plans for the renovations, and expect to send it out for bid in a month's time.
       Two vacant classrooms adjacent to the art room will be renovated to become the new art classroom.
       Trustee Anita Banach said it's tough to gauge the exact amount of participation in robotics since there are students as well as parent volunteers and corporate sponsors.
       The program has grown in popularity since it began in 2010, and will likely receive a boost due to competing in the world championships this past school year.
       "I think we all feel very, very confident in bringing this program back into our high school and making it less travel and less nervousness for them," Banach said.
       The parking lot repairs are not expected to cost more than $40,000 in sinking funds. The project will fix potholes with hot, rolled asphalt as opposed to cold patching them, similar to repairs seen in 2013.
       "We're trying to avoid the cold patch, as that only lasts until we get a few good melts," he said. "We're fixing up places that have deteriorated before winter comes back through."
       Replacing the sewage grinder will cost around $62,500. Gratton said the old grinder had failed and was removed, but hasn't been replaced. The grinder is in the sewer line from the high school to the Village of Romeo.
       "It's on order, it's an eight week lead time," Gratton said.

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