Archive for Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Baldwin school board to receive recommendation on BJHS auditorium reuse

Baldwin Junior High School students work out Tuesday in the school’s weight room, which was the main office of the high school when the building opened. The USD 348 Board of Education will consider Monday a recommendation to renovate the old office space as well as remodel the now unused junior high school auditorium.

Baldwin Junior High School students work out Tuesday in the school’s weight room, which was the main office of the high school when the building opened. The USD 348 Board of Education will consider Monday a recommendation to renovate the old office space as well as remodel the now unused junior high school auditorium.

December 12, 2012

On Tuesday morning, eight Baldwin Junior High School students were crowded around about the same amount pieces of exercise equipment in what was once the front office of Baldwin High School. Meanwhile, an equal number of students were working out on equipment in to adjoining smaller rooms.

“We’re packed in here like sardines,” said junior high physical education instructor Ted Zuzzio. “We have five more pieces of equipment down in the basement we can’t get in here.”

On Monday, the Baldwin school board is expected to make a decision, which would address the crowding in the junior high weight room and start the long-discussed redesign of the junior high school’s little-used auditorium.

The issue of district facilities has been on the board’s plate since April when it received recommendations for district administrators concerning the future uses of all district properties.

The board rejected that report’s suggestion that new facilities be built should activities and programs have to be relocated with the sale of district properties. Instead, board members said that current unused or under-used facilities should be remodeled as homes for displaced programs. Topping the board’s list for potential reuse was the junior high school auditorium made redundant with the spring 2011 opening of the Performing Arts Center.

In October, the board appointed a steering committee of board members Ruth Barkley, Chad Christie and Sheryl Gill to study the issue further and make recommendations to the board. That came after district architects met with junior and high school staff members and had a public forum on possible reuses of the auditorium.

Superintendent Paul Dorathy said the steering committee had met twice and was ready to make a recommendation to the board about how the auditorium should be reused so that DLR could compete plans for the remodel.

That recommendation would be to remodel the auditorium into space for a multi-use/wrestling facility, added space for the junior high school’s band and vocal music rooms, and the addition of two classrooms and “badly needed” storage space, Dorathy said.

The committee would also recommend the existing walls be removed from junior high weight lifting room, which would create a more functional space and allow use of a current storage room. The need in the weight-lifting room was identified when the architects meet with junior high staff, who found the space to be set aside in the proposed remodeled inadequate for that purpose.

The board has available $600,000 of unused funds from the 2008 bond issue to pay for the improvements.

“I’ve told the group, ‘That’s our budget. We can’t go over that,’” Dorathy said.

In October, Doug Loveland, project manager with the district’s architectural firm DLR Group, presented the board with cost estimates of three options to remodel the auditorium. All options would create a 3,365-square-foot multi-purpose room, carve out 775 square feet for storage and add two classrooms and two bathrooms. All three plans still showed a 970-square-foot weight room in the remodeled auditorium, although Loveland acknowledged staff had recommended the changes to the existing site.

The cheapest option had an estimated price tag of from $475,000 to $500,000, but did not include the improvements to junior high music rooms. The other two more expensive options include all the improvements that are to be listed in the steering committee’s recommendation. However, the most expensive option appears to be too costly with its $700,000 to $800,000 estimated price tag.

A third option has an estimated cost of $565,000 to $650,000 and cuts the cost of the most-expensive option by reducing the size of the band and vocal music rooms from a total of 2,685 square feet to 1,857 square feet.

At the October meeting, Loveland established a timeline that could have the auditorium remodeled in time for the start of school next August, with the bulk of the work done during summer vacation.

Dorathy said the board would be on track to meet that schedule if it approves on Monday a recommendation for DLR architects.

Comments

Julie Craig 1 year, 10 months ago

Any plans for additional parking coming down the pipe?

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Mustang 1 year, 10 months ago

“I’ve told the group, ‘That’s our budget. We can’t go over that,’” Dorathy said.

reminds me of another infamous quote "this school won't be closed while I'm superintendent"

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Stacy Napier 1 year, 10 months ago

more parking? the big lot next to the high school is never full. Just yesterday it was only half full.

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1776attorney 1 year, 10 months ago

At the time last Spring when this "extra" $600,000 was mentioned and the Jr. High Auditorium was discussed, it was reported by school board members that they had received a very high volume of negative calls about this proposal. The majority of callers wanted this $600,000 used to retire the bond early and reduce the mill levy accordingly.

As I predicted our school board members and superintendent are "tone deaf" to any opinions outside their sphere of "yes" people at the schools. Either the superintendent has some kind mystical powers over the school boards members or we have elected a school board that is equally as bad and dishonest as the previous one.

Once the architect offered to design some possible options for the auditorium I knew exactly what was going on. The offer to do this work for free is disingenuous and misleading. Sure, the architect will do the design for free but later will become the construction manager and collect their 10% of total costs on the back-end. So, their work is not free and their opinions are highly tainted towards pushing this project to completion, no matter what the taxpayers and voters want.

The country is in the middle of economic stagnation and will be in another recession next year perhaps. Many, many taxpayers in Baldwin City are financially stretched and yet the school district seems oblivious to the world outside the walls of their buildings.

I might also suggest that readers Google CAB school bonds. These type of bonds were pushed on many California school districts over the past fifteen years by Wall Street. These bonds require very little repayment for the first 10-15 years yet accrue interest. Beginning in year 15, the payments begin after accruing 15 years of interest. Wall Street sells them on the assumption that in 15 years taxpayer incomes will be 3 times higher than today and taxes should triple also.

So they borrow $50 million and build new schools and when the payments come due in 15 years the repayment amount is astronomical and the facilities are "old" and antiquated by then.

Needless to say, many California school districts are now approaching bankruptcy and the state government is attempting to outlaw CAB bonds.

Hopefully, this is not what Piper Jaffrey sold this superintendent and school board last month.

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Torch 1 year, 10 months ago

You could have posted this in 2008 and you would have been just as correct.

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Stacy Napier 1 year, 10 months ago

He also could have changed the names to the City Council and been correct also. Everything in this town is about spending now pay later to make it fancy and new.

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