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Posted: 12/11/13

Sinking fund projects to
cost $1.9 million in 2014

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Romeo Community Schools Board of Education members received a glimpse of $1.9 million in sinking fund projects for the next school year.
       The board was presented with a list of projects at its Dec. 2 meeting that will use the voter-approved sinking fund dollars for projects like heating and cooling work, security and parking lot expansions.
       Don Gratton, operations and maintenance director, said an estimated $2.2 million will be available for projects from sinking fund as of June 2014.
       The list of nine projects for the 2014-15 year totals $1.9 million, with the majority of them taking place at Washington Elementary and Indian Hills Elementary.
       The largest expense is HVAC work for Washington Elementary at $900,000. Electrical upgrades in the school to accommodate for the HVAC work will cost $111,000.
       Indian Hills will have its cafeteria air-conditioning upgraded for $160,000. The parking lot will be expanded at $472,000, which ties into a $170,000 project to tie the entire building into city utilities.
       "Part of the building is on a septic system, part of the building is on city services, so we'd like to tie everything to city services and eliminate the septic field and turn it into a parking lot," Gratton said.
       Other projects include a security upgrade at the Croswell Center for $50,000 and installing a generator at Hamilton-Parsons Elementary for $40,000 to maintain essential services during power outages.
       "We tend to lose power out there every time the wind blows funny, and with that happening we can't run school," Gratton said.
       He said replacing the water shut-off valve at Romeo High School for $20,000 will happen once the district can work out an agreement with the Village of Romeo, as a portion of the village must be shut down for the project.
       Gratton said the village is asking the district to replace the high school's grinder pump for sewage, which is expected to run $35,000.
       He said about $1.4 million in projects were completed during the summer, including roof replacements at Amanda Moore Elementary and parking lot repairs at Romeo Middle School and Washington Elementary.
       The five elementary schools also received security upgrades like buzz-in doors at each entrance and key fob locks on various doors at a cost of $269,414.
       Other projects that weren't on the sinking fund project list but required immediate action included a water line at Amanda Moore, repairs to the pool pump room at Romeo High School and connecting the district's warehouse to city utilities.
       The sinking fund is generated by a 1.25 millage voters renewed in 2011 to begin on July 1, 2012 and end on June 30, 2016. Board President Anita Banach expressed gratitude for having the fund to maintain aging buildings.
       "It doesn't come from our general fund, so we're very fortunate that our community continues to support our buildings in that way," Banach said.


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