Referendum work nearly complete, but district braces for other projects

Northern Ozaukee board told that cost of non-referendum upgrades will cost $700,000
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

The end of construction related to the April 2018 referendum is in sight, but more non-referendum projects will be coming, totaling nearly $700,000 over the next 10 years, Northern Ozaukee School Board members were told last week.

School district voters approved the $14.95 million referendum by a wide margin. That work has included expanding the high school on the east side to add a new cafeteria, upgrades to the campus mechanical systems and reconfiguring the campus parking lot.

Building Supt. Jason Caswell told board members a new key-fob system should soon be complete. Instead of physical keys being handed to school staff, each will receive an electronic fob that allows district officials to control access to school facilities.

On a tour of the campus, Caswell told board members that he can control the campus HVAC system remotely from his phone or computer. New water softeners also have been installed for the entire building.

“Before, we only had it for the kitchen,” Caswell said. “It will help eliminate calcium buildup that was rampant through the building.”

Caswell said some doors and windows still need to be replaced and some concrete work in the parking lot has yet to be completed.

Caswell also submitted a list of items and improvements to be taken care of over the next 10 years and were not included in the referendum.

“Immediate” needs, Caswell said, are mostly related to caring for carpeting that was installed throughout the campus and is expected to last for more than a decade. Those items include purchasing two large carpet vacuums, a 40-inch riding vacuum, carpet water extractors, floor fans, dehumidifiers and a power pallet jack, at a total cost of about $35,000.

Within five years, the district will need to look at spending about $570,000. That includes updating its fire alarm system at a potential cost of $200,000, said Caswell.

School Board member Dan Large asked why the alarm system needs to be upgraded when referendum consultants told district officials it was fine.

Caswell, who also is the Waubeka fire chief, said the system, which was installed in 1994, “works fine now” but that a lot of its components are “obsolete.”

Other big-ticket items include replacing the high school and middle school chillers at a cost of $215,000; buying a new truck with snowplow and tractor attachments at a cost of $94,000; a special-education van for $28,285, but which could be paid for with federal funds; and an aerial platform lift, for $20,000, that is needed to reach the ceiling of the new cafeteria. 

Caswell said sections of the elementary school roof that were installed in 1994 and 2000 will need to be inspected. He did not have an estimate on those costs.

In 10 years, the district may have to spend about $90,000 for three new vans and look at more roof work over the high school and middle school for sections that were installed in 1994, 1999 and 2000. He did not have estimates for that roof work.

Caswell said he offered the list to give board members a “heads up” and to help them in budget planning.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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