Summer bond work starts

       Eight Westside schools will benefit from building improvements this summer, courtesy of funds that remain from District 11's 2005 bond issue.
       The most prominent project is the new auditorium at Coronado High School. Started over a year ago, the $4.9 million project is due for completion the first week in August, in time for the start of the new school year.
       Other upgrades, scheduled to start and finish this summer, will be at Coronado, Holmes and West middle schools and Midland, Buena Vista, Howbert, Pike and Whittier elementaries, according to Mike Maloney, director of facilities for District 11.
       Of these, perhaps the most appreciated will be the $600,000 air conditioning in Midland's main building. (The large modular just south of the main building already has air conditioning, and the amenity will not be provided in the school's two portables.)
       A project easily viewed by the public will be a “fairly significant” landscaping/drainage project between the building and the track at West. “We just awarded the contract, and they should be starting anytime,” Maloney said, noting that the district worked with the school on the design.
       West (in addition to the above project) and Whittier, two of the oldest schools in the district, will undergo rigorous building system studies called “commissioning.” The idea is not just to look for broken parts, but to “make sure everything is working properly,” Maloney said. During a “commissioning” study, a consultant is brought in to “look at the entire system and see how it's operating and how it should operate.”
       Because such scrutiny is likely to lead to unforeseen repairs, the budget makes allowance for a certain level of extra costs at those schools, Maloney noted. If something particularly serious or expensive is found, a contingency fund can be tapped into.
       Pike Elementary is due for several modernizations, including a new fire alarm, windows, exterior doors and electrical work. Maloney added that none of the planned work will have to be undone in the event that Pike is closed and the Bijou School, an alternative high school, is relocated to the building (a proposal that the school board is scheduled to take up next fall).
       Here are capsules on other summer bond work at Westside schools:
  • Buena Vista - a small roofing job.
  • Howbert - improved surge protection, remote climate control.
  • Midland - fire alarm, electrical work, intercom.
  • Whittier - windows.
  • West - exterior doors.
  • Coronado - exterior windows, gym roofing, swimming pool plumbing.
           Postponed again this year is some $700,000 in up-grades that have been budgeted since 2005 for the current Bijou School building on Walnut Street, which Maloney believes is too dilapidated for major repairs. “Of course we're anticipating a decision to move those kids out of that facility,” he said. “We'd be tickled not to have to put another dime into it. But in the meantime, our maintenance folks will try to keep things safe and operational.”

    Westside Pioneer article