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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Coleman Board Views School Renovation Plans, Budget

Issue Date: October 11, 2018

At a special meeting on Monday, Oct 8, Coleman School Board got its first official look at plans for building upgrades to be carried out with funding approved in the referendum that was approved by district electors in April. The project is scheduled to be bid out in February of 2019 and constructed over two summers starting in spring of 2019, and be complete for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board also got is first official look at the district operating budget proposed for the 2018-2019 school year by Superintendent Doug Polomis. They approved it for presentation and probable adoption after the annual meeting and public hearing set for 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22.

Polomis was pleased to report that this is a balanced budget, with the tax increase held to the 97 cents per $1,000 of equalized value as promised prior to the referendum. The levy, with the inclusion of $1,125,000 for the referendum debt service fund, is up 13.35 percent, from $4,230,416 for last year to $4,795, 348 for the current year.

The total proposed budget is up 8.45 percent from an unaudited total of $9,368,918 in 2017-2018 to $10,452,972 proposed for 2018-2019.

Since the referendum passed in April authorizing spending of $13,830,000 on improvements, the District and various committees have been working with consultants from Miron Construction and Bray Architects to design the additions and renovations through regular meetings, in addition to touring other districts for inspiration and engaging staff throughout the design process, Polomis said.

At the Oct. 8 meeting, Nathan Shieve, Project Architect and Becky Rosteing, Interior Designer, both from Bray Architects reviewed the current project scope and shared visuals of the new spaces. District Administrator Doug Polomis said he is excited about the project. He added that the process has been going very smoothly and said he believes the students, staff and community of the Coleman School District will be pleased with the outcome.

As proposed, if specific recommended add-ins are approved, total estimated project cost is $14,298,000, $468,000 more than the $13,830,000 authorized in the referendum. Polomis and the consultants stressed that this is an estimate only, and actual prices will not be known until the bids come in.

Todd Sabourin, Project Executive from Miron Construction, recapped the current budget based on the current scope of work and informed the board that the project is trending on budget. He explained that through the design process, the District had asked Bray and Miron to explore additional projects related to the upgrades.

The Bray and Miron team worked with the Board of Education, staff and the citizens advisory group to prioritize the additional projects. The board will be asked to decide later whether or not they should go with specific add-on projects at this time or hold off. Discussion indicated costs will be less if they are done as part of the overall building renovations.

Sabourin explained that Miron will be handling other additional projects as alternates when the project is bid. Polomis said if the project does not fit into the referendum amount, the District has dedicated money in its facilities improvement fund to pay for those projects. That fund was set up five years ago to provide for a new roof if the referendum should fail. The referendum work does include the roofs.

The project is scheduled to be bid out in February 2019. Construction will start in spring and be phased over two summers, with the project complete for the 2020-2021 school year.

One unanticipated expense was the moisture barrier under the elementary concrete floors.This may not be needed, and if so there will be a $90,000 savings.

The board also got an artist's concept look at what the new high school main entrance may look like, with all new windows, a new canopy over a secure entry, new stair tower on the cafeteria addition, and new cladding on the elevator tower.

The base project, as estimated, includes Early Childhood and Pre-K classroom renovations, elementary classroom medium renovations, restrooms in each kindergarten room, flooring moisture mitigation under the elementary school, high school special ed classroom upgrades, and FACE and kitchen station renovations.

When bids are let out there will be some potential when alternates that can be included or excluded as dictated by finances and how the bids come in. Many of them include flooring replacement, painting, and replacement of doors and hardware not currently scheduled for replacement. Exterior brick washing is also proposed. The most costly of the proposed add-ons is reconfiguration of the existing district office and music program space, which would affect about 4,276 square feet and cost in the neighborhood of $335,238.

Plans include eliminating the folding partitions in elementary classrooms and replacing them with permanent walls which can be provided at less cost and give more noise barrier between rooms.

The planners explained how boards from existing gym bleachers will be used as accent walls in various parts of the building, how walls are taken out in some areas to provide open space concepts and provide more natural lighting, new lobby configuration, rubber flooring material in many areas, and walk-off mats at doorways.

Board President Ryan Wendt was concerned about proposals for sidelight windows adjacent to doors in the elementary portion of the building. He asked if they are necessary, in view of their negative effect on security. He asked if they are bullet proof, for example. He was told the glass would be shatter proof, but not ballistic proof, and they allow visual connection between the hallway and classroom, which is good. However, they might be made narrower than the proposed 12 to 18 inches to make it impossible for anyone to squeeze through and get into a locked room.

A man from the audience asked if the new elementary classroom dividing walls would go up to the support beams to minimize sound transfer between rooms. Polomis asked Wendt to hold off on questions from the public until later in the meeting, since this was a board meeting, not a public participation meeting. Wendt did that, and then asked the question himself a bit later. He was told that is the case.

Board members commented the proposed new high school entrance "looks really sharp." Appearance of the elementary entry will be only slightly changed. New security measures, mainly hardware upgrades, are to be put into place. "We want this to be a very welcoming environment, but safe and secure," Sabourin said.

Board member Jamie Graetz was concerned about effect all the obstructions in the front parking lot at the high school would have on snow plowing. Polomis said they will discuss this with Building and Grounds Supervisor Wayne Gross and other staff members before proceeding.

Polomis also said since June he and other staff members have gone about every two weeks to look at what has been done at other schools. He added there has been a lot of time and input into this project from various individuals and entities, "and the input from staff committees was invaluable!"

The board spent a considerable amount of time viewing various colors of green with an eye to selecting the shade to be used as the official school green and gold carrying through from uniforms to equipment to wall and floor accent colors. They took home samples to consider and will decide at the Oct. 22 meeting.

Becky Rosteing, in her capacity as interior designer, explained the goal was to create a unified look throughout the entire school, working in the school colors with compatible neutrals, "to carry out an integrated, sophisticated, timeless look."

Later in the meeting the board approved a contract with Bray at a price of $9,000 for decorating services, most likely from Rosteing, on furniture and flooring and carpet selections.

On overall costs, the board was told there is $750,000 in the renovation budget for contingencies, plus the $581,000 in Fund 46, which is designated for capital improvements.

"It's your project. Nothing will be spent without your approval," the board was told. They also were told the bids are going to be advertised in January and February, which is the best possible time to get the most advantageous bids.

Polomis commented that at Florence there was lots of contingency money left over, so they got lots of add ons.

Bray is doing more work on plans and budget items and will come back to the board or the core team in early December with a new set of plans, and after the bids come in the board can decide on the full scope of the project.

In presenting the proposed budget for the current year, Polomis said the final official student count and actual state aid numbers are not yet known.

"I don't know why they even call it a budget, they should just call it a guess," Wendt commented.

Student count appears to be up. In actual numbers,without adjustment for kindergarten, there are 51 new students district wide, including 10 new students in high school. Board member Joanne Nowak commented she alone had five grandchildren start kindergarten this year.

The board was pleased to accept several generous donations. Two were from Zoetis, one for $662 and one for $277.80, and two from Kotecki Veterinary Services for $537 (matching Zoetis) and $400 for FHA projects. Board Member Corey Kuchta explained Zoetis is a pharmacy company, and contributed on the basis of animal inoculations. He said in addition to matching one of the Zoetis contributions Kotecki contributed money for every kid who showed up with an animal at the Fair.

They also accepted $450 from Coleman Pound Lioness Club, $10 toward a lunch for each of the 45 students going on the Washington, DC trip; a $1,457 donation to the 5th Quarter Varsity Football club from the Levi Neitsche Foundation in memory of a family member who was killed in a car crash, and $100 for the Environmental Center from Pound Womens Club.

Polomis advised the board that the Information Technology Services Director Sean McGough has resigned to take a position in the Madison area closer to his National Guard responsibilities.

Wendt asked if he faced a penalty for breaking his contract and leaving early, and Polomis said he does not.


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