SALISBURY TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISRICT
Salisbury Township School District Director of Facilities, Safety and Security Bill Bracket began the operations committee meeting Aug. 7 by covering the projects the district has planned for next summer. This list of projects has varied for the past few months in price and scope of work.
From his report, here is how the projects break down.
The concession stand and maintenance garage project has been postponed. Bracket said issues began to rise when current building codes were reviewed for the cost of constructing an entirely new concession stand and maintenance garage. Building codes regulate a certain number of restroom facilities to the amount of seating at the stadium.
Salisbury High School stadium’s seating is extremely large for the amount of people they actually receive and the cost of adding all of the additional facilities would be steep for minimal gain. The recommendation has been to revisit the project during future district renovations and construction. The estimated cost for this project was $600,000.
The next project discussed, the turf field and track, is expected to continue as planned.
A new turf field at the stadium will cost the district $1.4 million, but it is a drastic upgrade and is described as absolutely needed for the athletes. A decision on the track color has still to be made. Athletic Director Monica Deeb had commented to Bracket the color black would be fine. The board wanted to choose either a red or blue, as their thoughts were the amount of heat black retains on track asphalt is much higher than other colors. The blue color is a bit of a higher price, but was the favorite. The cost factor will play a big part in this decision, so no guarantees can be made.
The cafeteria exit, sidewalk and driveway project is expected to continue as planned.
The installation of new emergency exit doors, steps and an ADA-compliant ramp is planned for next year. Additionally, a sidewalk replacement in front of the new gym is being considered as well. The additional sidewalk will cost another $40,000. The entire project has been priced at $310,000.
This project also corrects a ground water issue occurring at the high school. Ground water has been accumulating and washing away the foundation of the roadway into the parking lot near the new gym. Additional storm drains will be added to help obstruct the water from eroding these areas. If this is not done, the roadway could eventually collapse. A project to completely fix this issue has been tabled for a future time.
The gym roof replacement/renovation has been reintroduced as a potential project
Bracket has found a new company, TREMCO, which has agreed to coat the roof in a 3- or 4-part coating process. This coating will give the existing roof an additional 20-30 year warranty and eliminate having to replace the entire roof. The cost of the full replacement is approximately $800,000. The coating has been quoted at $390,000.
The stadium lighting replacement has been reintroduced as a potential project.
Replacing the stadium lighting was a project tabled in the past, but with the introduction of a new company, Qualite Sports Lighting, LLC, the project has been brought back. Qualite has installed stadium lighting for Cedar Crest College and Bracket feels confident in installing the same types of LED fixtures at Salisbury. Qualite uses the existing poles at the stadium and installs LED lights. The lights include a 25-year/10,000 hour warranty and can be controlled remotely. The project includes additional lighting for pedestrian traffic around the concession stand and entrance. The total cost is $250,000.
The project for the replacement of the varsity softball/baseball field has been postponed. After running into multiple township issues with expanding the area around the stadium, this project has been postponed for a future time.
The total estimated cost for all projects quoted and planned began at $4 million. After finding alternative solutions for the stadium lighting, quoting the roof for a coat instead of replacement and tabling several projects, the district was able to get the cost to an expected $2.35 million. After all approvals are given, construction is estimated to take place April to August 2020.
Following Bracket’s presentaion, the meeting moved on to a presentation by Zach Williard, with Public Financial Management. Williard was in attendance to advise the directors on how these projects could be funded.
Williard advised the the board to borrow money from the state before the end of the year and the start of the elections. Interest rates are, at the time, very good.
Chief Financial Officer Michael Taylor proposed the district borrow $3 million. He said the borrowed money could create a new capital project fund, which would be incorporated in the budget at $64,750, with an initial deposit of $257,000. However, the amount per year can be adjusted and decided upon on later times as different needs come up.
This fund will be as a backup for facilities or other operational needs that have left the district at odds in the past. The goal of this strategy is to prevent the district from scrambling for funds, as in the past.
In other business, the directors discussed the Paragon busing contract proposal.
The new proposal, presented by Taylor, is a five year extension to the three years remaining with the bus company. Over the congruent eight years, Taylor said the district would save close to $300,000 by signing this extension and running with the same company the district has employed for the past 20 years.
Additionally, the contract allots Paragon to purchase four buses over the next eight years. Taylor sees this as extremely advantageous in cost savings and flexibility for the future. He said Paragon has been a tremendous partner for a number of years and the quality of service is top notch. By choosing to extend, it will give the district consistent busing with a flexible cost for any scenarios dealing with facility changes or busing rules. The board gave the go ahead to start negotiations on the clauses and contract.
Superintendent Dr. Randy Ziegenfuss presented the Memorandum of Understanding for the school resource officers. Ziegenfuss said Pennsylvania mandates certain laws in the enforcement of school safety. The mandates have changed due to the district having to hire two SROs. The second part of the memorandum is for the new policies and understandings regarding the district’s new camera systems.
Regarding updated policies, Director Audrey Frick presented a change to language in the student wellness guidelines. The guidelines previously stated teachers could not withhold student’s physical activities as a form of punishment. The guideline has been amended to include an “unless” section (this includes multiple lines detailing code of conduct violations); the amendment deemed necessary because it was leaving a gray area for students who required discipline during their recess or in a similar scenario.
In other news, Associate Superintendent Lynn Fuini-Hetten announced pepper spray could be added to the prohibited weapon list in the district. A few events occurred where pepper spray was used in school – one was accidental and the other thought to be intentional. Fuini-Hetten said each situation was a careless use and could have resulted in someone getting hurt unnecessarily. This new rule would prohibit students from carrying pepper spray but would allow for teachers and adults employed in the district to carry the self-defense device.
An incident mentioned was that of a young elementary student who had set off a pocket pepper spray by accident and when the parent was questioned why the student had the spray, the parent explained it was for the student’s protection on the way home from school.
Director Joe Gnall questioned whether the district should take a risk and take a form of protection out of the hands of the students. The board will look at what other districts are doing on this issue and will reconvene at a later point.