Cooler, roof repairs coming up on to-do list

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LANSDALE – While cooler days can bring to mind snowy days and holidays, North Penn school district officials are already planning for next summer – especially voting on several capital projects the district can undertake in 2022.

“This year, we updated the 10-year capital plan. We have changed some elements to adjust the costs, and we have also added elements, recent elements, that we have to take into account for the capital projects, ”said Regional Director of Facilities and Operations Tom Schneider.

Over the past few years, the school board’s facilities and operations committee and staff have compiled a long-term asset list showing the equipment and infrastructure repairs needed at all schools and buildings in the district. , classifying them according to the age of the infrastructure and the urgency. of need. Several smaller items on these lists have already been addressed, such as upgrades to fire alarm and public address systems in several buildings over the past year, while other needs such as upgrades HVAC and a new roof at North Penn High School have been delayed while a full survey is done.

During the meeting of the school board’s facilities and operations committee October 25, Schneider described the latest changes to this list, with updated cost estimates to reflect the post-COVID economy.

“We had an inflationary increase of about five percent for the first five years of the 10-year plan, and an inflationary increase of eight percent for years five to ten,” he said.

Topping the list, with an average rating of four on a scale of one to five, are several NPHS projects: $ 2.1 million for boilers, $ 10.8 million for switchgear electrical, $ 27 million for a new HVAC system and plumbing, then $ 4.3 million for HVAC controls, all of which should be included in any major high school renovation. The next highest on the list, valued at 3.8 out of five, are a $ 4.2 million roof replacement for the high school, a water heater of around $ 37,000 for the high school cafeteria and around 37 $ 000 for a new district transportation fire alarm system. center next to the school. The total cost of the entire list now stands at just over $ 48 million for 2021-2026, plus an additional $ 143 million for 2026-2031.

Rated 3.6 out of 5, a longer list of items, including several, suggested that Schneider suggested that the facilities and operations committee vote ahead for full board consideration. Changed from the last plan, a $ 324,000 item for rebuilding or replacing chillers at Bridle Path Elementary, which Schneider says has climbed the list.

“In the last two weeks we have lost one of the four compressors from one of the Bridle Path chillers. We therefore recommend that the committee consider replacing the coolers at Bridle Path, as we did at Gwynedd Square (elementary) last summer, and then at Walton Farm: replace these coolers as well, as they are from the same vintage ”, did he declare. .

The Walton Farm project is priced identically to the same project at Bridle Path, and Schneider said these chiller repairs and additional exhaust fan replacements and installations, estimated at around $ 32,000 for each school, are also recommended. the same time. Another expensive item just added to the list, around $ 890,000 for a new roof at Gwyn Nor Elementary, may also be up for a vote soon, and Schneider has said he views this price estimate with suspicion, and price tags of $ 1.8 million for roof repairs at the district education service center and $ 4.2 million for high school roof repairs.

“Some sections of the high school roof need replacing – not all of it, but some of it – maybe ESC and Gwyn Nor. These three are the highest priorities at this point, ”he said.

Board member Cathy Wesley asked for details on the roof repairs, and Schneider said he plans to bring in the district architectural consultant and a roofing specialist to examine the roofs, and would provide these details to the committee at future meetings. Committee chair Jonathan Kassa asked how such projects would be funded, and district finance director Steve Skrocki said the board could tap into the district’s capital reserve fund.

“That’s what the fund is there for: to improve buildings, upgrade infrastructure and buy school buses,” Skrocki said.

At the beginning of October, this capital reserve fund had approximately $ 2 million, and the board of directors voted unanimously on October 21 to transfer an additional $ 3.5 million into capital reserves, from unspent funds from the district’s 2020-2021 budget.

“So we’ll have $ 5.5 million in the capital reserve fund by the end of this week. This is really our guide, in planning what is needed, ”he said.

Skrocki added that due to long lead times and supply chain issues across the economy, he and district finance staff recommend proceeding with the next round of projects as soon as possible. : “November or December, very likely”, to allow advertising for the offers, so projects can be ready to go by summer 2022.

The North Penn School Board will then meet at 7:00 p.m. Nov. 18 at Penndale Middle School, 400 Penn Street, and the Facilities and Operations Committee will then meet at 7:00 p.m. Nov. 29 online; For more information visit www.NPenn.org.


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