Oswego school board hears proposal for completing long-delayed maintenance projects

School projects to take place over the next five years, administrator says

Long-delayed maintenance projects at Oswego School District 308 schools and facilities may soon begin.

OSD 308 Chief Financial Officer John Petzke and Director of Operations Rob Allison presented an updated comprehensive Facilities Management plan during the Sept. 13 meeting of the Board of Education as an informative agenda item not for a vote.

The district in 2014 worked with Kluber Inc. to develop its “Vision 2020″ building maintenance plan, “to assist the district in planning for facility maintenance, improvement planning, and budgeting over the next five years (2015-2020).” Vision 2020 began, Petzke said, with goals of staff engagement, assessment of district facilities, recommending deferred building maintenance projects, as well as energy consumption, benchmarks, and of district buildings.

The Vision 2020 plan identified roughly $29.5 million in priority projects and improvements across the district’s 22 school buildings, two transportation buildings, one grounds building and one finance building. Funding for the projects came from the sale of $14 million in debt service extension bonds, due to be paid off this year.

Additional funds were generated from local dollars through the district’s Capital Projects fund.

During the meeting, Petzke and Allison showed the board an example of the plans for each school.

Using Churchill Elementary School as an example, Petzke showed the board a list of deferred maintenance and improvement projects totaling $731,125 that included video surveillance and the construction of a Dumpster enclosure, landscaping, painting, mechanical systems maintenance and other needs by priority. Similar lists have been created for each of the district’s schools.

A letter to the district from Kluber Inc. President Michael Kluber stated that the company would accomplish the entire list of projects for a total services fee of $93,750, excluding the cost of any possible additional services.

When it came to financing future projects, Petzke said that he is asking the board to “take a look at what is realistically able to be done within the borrowing limits that we have.”

“Rather than looking at $29 million to do in five years, maybe we do identify $29 million but we say, ‘You know what, in this next five years, we’re going to issue some bonds to pay for projects that cover ... $8 million worth of projects,” Petzke said, reminding the board that projects have to be sent out for bids and then completed in a timely manner.

The proposal for facilities and maintenance work, Petzke said, will build on the Vision 2020 plan, examining the work already completed and the work that remains.

Petzke also suggested grouping together schools that have similar floor plans in discussions and focus groups, to determine if they have common concerns at their buildings.

“Getting more voices to talk about the needs at their facility, they might be able to identify some things, or at least prioritize some things that are really key to that floor plan,” Petzke told the board.

Moving forward, the proposed plan from Kluber will be presented to the board’s Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee at its Sept. 20 meeting and bringing the plan, updated with the committee’s input, back to the board at its Sept. 27 meeting for review and approval. Once the plan is approved, the district will begin engaging focus groups at each building and assessing facilities.