Chesterton Tribune



School Board gets $62 million wish list of building repairs and improvements

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The Duneland School Board heard the final results of a district-wide facilities assessment by Tria Architecture at its meeting Monday.

The assessment, intended to serve as a long-term planning document, concluded approximately 1,500 items at an estimated cost of $62 million could be addressed across Dunelandís buildings over the next 10 years. Thereís no expectation that Duneland address all the items in the report, but the document is a budgeting tool that easily identifies groups of similar items that need repair, which can improve efficiency and identify opportunities to save on costs by bundling work, according to Tom Szurgot of Tria.

Szurgot said the overall condition of Dunelandís facilities is very good, but finding 1,500 items is normal for a large school corporation: ďEvery need and want is in here. Itís big picture stuff down to cracks in the wall.Ē The four-month-long study compiled data from interviews, polls of staff input, building walkthroughs, and inspections and ranks items by priority.

Szurgot named big ticket items for each building. CMS ended up with a $12-million wish list, including new hot water heaters, mechanical upgrades, a new building controls system, and a consistent room numbering system. Szurgot said CHS, though itís Duneland newest building, came in with about $10 million in needs/wants due to sheer size. The items of biggest concern at CHS are the three A/C chillers near end-of-life.

Key items from the $7.5-million wish list at Bailly Elementary include a reconfigured main office and nurse area, playground improvement, and mechanical systems and ventilation. Key items at Yost Elementary add up to $6.4 million, including parking lot repair, improved drop-offs and pick-ups, playground improvement, roof repair, ventilation, and classroom mechanical units.

Brummitt, Liberty Elementary, and Westchester Intermediate could all use boiler room improvements. Flooring is a big ticket item at Liberty, and the fire alarm system at WIS could use an upgrade. The report suggests getting Brummitt off its well system and connected to municipal water mains.

Szurgot reported the building envelop for the bus barn could be replaced soon. Additional parking, fencing, lighting, and above-ground fuel tanks are also on the list for the Transportation center. Improved exterior doors, ceilings, and lighting are suggested for almost every building.

Director of Support Services Greg Lindy said he doesnít yet plan on changing anything in the current capital projects and assets plan based on the results.


The Board approved the 2020 budget, tax levies, and tax rates, as well as a resolution authorizing Duneland CFO Lynn Kwilasz to reduce the budget without convening a special meeting after the Department of Local Government Finance reviews it. The Board approves such a resolution each year since DLGF often responds to Dunelandís budget around the holidays.

The Board approved the bus replacement and capital projects and assets plans as presented. The Board also approved a resolution to transfer $5,760,000 from the Education fund to the Operations fund for 2020. Since a state-mandated shift in the way schools manage their funds took effect this year, all of Dunelandís state support goes to student-facing costs in the Education fund, and the Board must approve a portion not to exceed 15 percent to be put toward Operations at the end of each year.


Public Relations Director Bridget Martinson reported the first grading period ends Oct. 15 and report cards will be available in Skyward Oct. 24. She also noted thereís no school Friday, Oct. 25 for Fall Break.

The CHS Halloween Trick or Treat sponsored by Student Government is Oct. 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. Trick or Treat is for kids in sixth grade and lower. Attendees should use entrance 1. Admission is $5 per family, the proceeds to benefit Rileyís Childrenís Hospital.



Posted 10/11/2019




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