The Washington School District is checking off the list of improvements promised when voters approved a $15 million zero tax rate bond issue back in August 2016.
The majority of the issue was about moving and refinancing existing lease debt into bond debt. But approximately $1.34 million was slated to be used for roof replacements, building repairs, safety and security upgrades, and some classroom renovation, among other projects.
Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said
most of those improvements have been made, including:
Replacing roof sections at Labadie Elementary.
Restoring metal roof at Washington Middle School.
Outside building repairs (tuck pointing, caulk, waterproof paint) at Augusta Elementary.
Restoring roof section at Augusta Elementary.
Roof construction above boiler room at Washington West Elementary.
Replacing rear doors and 11 original windows at Washington Middle School.
HVAC replacement and replaced air-conditioning unit in the gymnasium at Washington Middle School.
Door replacement on the north side of the building, tuck pointing and seal coating at Marthasville Elementary.
Masonry repair, spot tuck pointing and chimney repair at the district office on Locust Street.
Masonry tuck pointing and seal coating to the building and clean and seal concrete walls at Four Rivers Career Center.
Still pending, but scheduled for completion by 2021, are lagoon renovations at Campbellton Elementary.
VanLeer said all of the safety and security projects promised also have been completed.
Access controls have been installed on approximately 50 doors throughout the district.
A total of 79 security cameras also have been upgraded throughout the district, including the installation of 18 new cameras.
Academic space improvements include the creation of the Confluence room to accommodate the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) program at the Four Rivers Career Center.
This space had been formerly occupied by East Central College programs.
The Confluence is a workspace assigned for students to fast forward into their future and fully immerse in a professional culture, solve real world problems and use industry standard tools.
“We are pleased with our progress in terms of getting these projects completed,” VanLeer told The Missourian. “When you maintain and equip 11 buildings, it’s a lot of work and we are very fortunate to have the community support that enables us to service them.”
VanLeer said the access controls and security cameras have allowed the district to meet some of the goals of its safety committee.
“The HVAC work, roofs, tuck pointing and other related items are not exciting projects, but absolutely necessary considering the nature, age and makeup of our buildings,” she noted.
The Confluence room is serving as the district’s business incubator and makes space for the purposes of providing a cutting-edge learning environment for the advanced professional studies program and others, VanLeer said.
“It’s something we are very proud of,” she added, noting the district has hosted hundreds of business and civic leaders at the site.
“Everyone seems very pleased with how it turned out,” she noted. “Our students enjoy the learning environment and the opportunities they have there. I also truly appreciate our in-house staff for working so hard to make the space super unique and special for our students.”
VanLeer said it’s important that patrons know the district is delivering on its promises and without their support, these things are simply not possible.
“We couldn’t be more grateful,” she said.
Also completed as promised, VanLeer said, is the converting of lease payments to the debt service fund by means of general obligation bonds to secure operational funding to maintain educational services.
Voter approval meant revenue that was servicing a $13.66 million lease ($1.5 million in annual payments paid from the capital projects fund) could be shifted to the general fund for operations.