POWNAL >> On Wednesday, maintenance director Kevin Davis updated the Pownal School Board on a number of construction projects that will be taking place this summer and into the future.
Davis said that only a few windows remained to be upgraded, in four classrooms, the boiler room, and the nurse's office. He said the new windows would be more energy efficient, and would be expected to last about 30 years. The school received a bid from CL White Glass of Bennington for $46,550, which would be completed and paid for over the next three years. Davis said CL White has done about 75 percent of the windows in the school. "They've been there forever and they have a good reputation," he said.
"This will finish off the building," he said, "To my understanding, we've looked around and everything else has been done.
He said additional upgrades would be made to the school's security system, including strobe lights outside and in the gym to alert students and staff to lockdowns and fire alarms. "If someone is dropping their kid off late, and they're at the door in the middle of a lockdown, they have no way of knowing we're in a lockdown," he said, "So, we'd be putting blue strobe lights at the entrances, updating the keypad for the alarm, and when we do a lockdown, there'll be a code that you push on that, and that will trigger the state troopers."
He said the initial estimate for that work was $1,725, but that it would actually be slightly more, as they wanted to add a strobe light in the gym as well. "What happens is, Mr. Kipp is down in there with the kids, they're playing games, they've got music going, they don't hear the announcement. But, if he sees the light go off, he knows they need to." That could add about $150 to the total cost.
In addition to other changes to the security system, one major improvement, said Davis, is that every teacher will now have their own security code, rather than having one for the whole building. Staff members will still only need to remember one code, their own, he said, but now codes could be removed when staff are no longer employed by Pownal, rather than their having to change the code for everyone.
Davis added that there are probably half a dozen floor tiles that need to be replaced. While he didn't have an estimate for that cost yet, he said, if the board approves spending roughly $15,000 per year on the windows, there will be enough money available for that project as well. He said that one of the playground slides is showing hairline cracks, and will need to be replaced, for about $4,000. He also recommended replacing the gym floor, which would be a major project, but a necessary one. He said if the board approved it, he could have an estimate by their June meeting. Finally, the parking lot will be blacktopped and re-lined, for a cost of roughly $5,500.
The board approved all of Davis' proposed expenses, save for the slide and the windows. Board chairman Cynthia Brownell and board member Angie Rawling argued that it would be more economical to do all of the windows in one year, both in terms of energy efficiency and protection against rising prices. However, they needed to ensure that the budget allowed that expenditure, and the board agreed to hold that decision until the June meeting. For the slide, that money would not come out of the capital improvement fund, as the others items would, so the board wanted to ensure that that money was available as well.
The Pownal Elementary School Board meets the third Wednesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Pownal Elementary School library. Full recordings of their meetings are available on Catamount Access Television, and on the station's YouTube page.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.