Archive for Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Board firm on tower location

June 12, 2002

Despite pleas from the Baldwin City Council, the Baldwin Board of Education decided at Monday's meeting that it wants to keep the current site for the town's new water tower.

"I think the placement is more key to the entrance to the property and what we're doing for future development," Board President Ed Schulte said.

Original site plans for Baldwin's new elementary school had the water tower located in the northwest corner of the district's property, along U.S. Highway 56, on the west edge of town.

At an earlier meeting, the school board decided to move the tower farther south, away from the highway, for future building plans and aesthetic reasons.

The city council has since asked the district to move the tower back to the northwest corner, which is a higher piece of property. If moved, the tower would not have to be as tall to achieve the same amount of pressure thereby reducing building costs.

"They feel very strongly that it's the best place to reduce costs," Supt. James White told the board Monday.

Schulte said moving the water tower to the northwest corner could potentially hurt future building projects on the property.

"There's plans for the future for potential buildings, ball fields and stadiums," he said. "Our thought was we didn't want to have a tower right by the driveway in our front yard."

Board Members Chip Hornberger and Barbara Johnson both said they agreed it would look better if the tower was kept at its current location.

Council Member George McCrary told the board the city's request to move the tower would benefit the entire town.

"What we're trying to do as a city is create one pressure system for our entire community," McCrary said. "It would achieve an equal balance of water pressure."

He said the tower would be seen regardless of the location.

"It's going to be there," he said. "It's going to be a landmark of our community on the west side of town."

McCrary said the city had already reduced costs for water main improvements and building permit fees.

"We have made adjustments," he said.

The district is currently responsible for a cost of $64,000 for the water line that will run from 11th Street to the new school. The cost is for an eight-inch water main, even though the city is installing a 12-inch water main.

Earlier costs were around $152,000 for all of the water line improvements from 11th Street to the water tower.

Building permit fees have also been reduced from more than $250,000 to about $120,000.

White told the board the DeSoto, Eudora and Wellsville school districts had to pay permit fees and line extension costs in their recent building projects, but he said he hoped the city would reduce the district's fees a little more.

"I'm just hopeful there will be some room for negotiations," he said.

Because the city has already helped with some of the district's expenses, McCrary said he would like the board to move the tower to help the city with its expenses.

"I don't really want to see any cost incurred either way on this," he said.

Schulte said while the district would prefer not to have a tower on the property at all, it was trying to work with the city as much as possible.

"We want to put together the most economical, most aesthetically pleasing plan," he said. "We're trying to represent everyone over the whole district. We're looking for a win situation for everyone involved."

A motion to allow White to negotiate with the city council and approve permit fees and a time and material contract for the water line failed in a 3-3 vote with Hornberger, Johnson and Board Member Curtis Trarbach voting against.

"I would just like to see a little more negotiation just so we know exactly what we're getting at the time," Hornberger said.

White said he will negotiate with the city council at Monday's meeting on a time and material proposal and permit fees and let the board know of any changes.

In other business, the school board:

Heard a report from White about the district's other building projects.

He said construction has begun at both Vinland Elementary School and Marion Springs Elementary School.

"I think those are progressing along nicely," he said.

Construction has not begun at the Baldwin Junior High School.

Heard a brief presentation from White on the 2002-2003 budget. The estimated operation budget for the 2002-2003 school year is around $7.4 million.

Heard a proposal for fees for the district's use of Baker University athletic facilities.

White said Baker has asked the district to pay a fee of $18,000 a year for two years for use of the facilities.

In the past, the district has been responsible for $1,200 per football game and half of the cost of equipment and facility upgrades.

White said Baker is currently in the process of doing a significant amount of upgrades to its facilities.

He will continue to discuss the proposal with Baker.

Met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel.

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