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 JANET DeMARTELAERE ROCCO TENAGLIA
BUFORD HERRONELIZABETH REIBER
GARY VETTRAINOGIOVANNINA WESOLOWSKI
MARY SULLIVANPHILIP KITTELL JR.
SHERRI LEWINSKITHOMAS AVEREYN
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Posted: 07/10/13


SUMMER PROJECTS. Above, workers tear up the parking lot at Romeo Middle School for one of the school district's 2013-14 sinking fund projects. The district is spending about $1.3 million on parking lots, roofs and other site improvements. Below, Above, Don Gratton, operations and maintenance supervisor for Romeo Community Schools, stands near a large pothole in the Washington Elementary parking lot. The lot is expected to be repaired by the fall.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

RCS begins $1.3 million
in sinking fund projects

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      With staff and students gone for the summer, workers have started a laundry list of projects to maintain Romeo Community Schools.
       Around $1.3 million in projects have begun this month to improve deteriorating parking lots, roofs, septic fields and water mains in the district.
       The Board of Education unanimously approved of the projects at its June 26 meeting.
       The sinking fund is a voter-appproved taxation of 1.25 mills that can only be used on capital projects that maintain and repair district buildings and sites.
       Don Gratton, operations and maintenance director, said the sinking fund brings in $1.8 million a year. Using a list generated by staff and the community alike, the district picks projects it can complete with the funds.
       "All the projects are slated to be done by when the next school year starts," he said. "If for some reason something does happen to go after schools starts, we would do after-hours work."
       He said when this year's bids came back and contracts were awarded the district saved about $600,000. With the extra savings, the district is investing more into safety upgrades as well as other projects like repaving a strip of road between Powell Middle School and the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center.
       The approved projects include Amanda Moore Elementary having its roof fixed as well as its domestic water line for an estimated total cost of $525,000.
       "The roof . . . has substantial leaks, so it moved up on the list to be done," he said.
       The parking lots of both Washington Elementary and Romeo Middle School will see repairs at $450,000 and $100,000, respectively. The Washington lot in particular has potholes so deep that they expose the dirt below.
       "All of the blacktop will be coming out to be replaced," Gratton said. "It's in pretty bad shape."
       Romeo High School will see two water-related repairs. The first is a pump room replacement for $250,000, while a water valve will be replaced at $20,000. Gratton said the latter will not only save some money, but stops the district from having to shut off half of Romeo's water to shut it off at the high school.
       "Instead of duplicating a valve I'll coordinate with the village to shut the water off one day to swap out the valve," he said.
       Another $30,000 is expected to be spent on rebuilding a septic field at the district's warehouse.
       Gratton said heating and cooling projects at Romeo High School, Washington Elementary and Indian Hills Elementary have been placed on the back burner due to the bid process causing delays earlier this year.
       "In order to do any HVAC work we would've had to have our stuff drawn by February, which didn't happen," he said.
       The estimated total of the HVAC work comes to $1.6 million. Gratton said these projects will likely come back to the board in the fall for review.
       "It takes probably a good three months of planning to get that going," he said.
      


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Retrieved 12/21/2014 at 11:59:27 PM.
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