Improvement decisions loom

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, June 7, 2017

While Eureka Elementary School is set to receive more than $3 million in HVAC upgrades, and upgrades for Phenix and Bacon District elementary school are included in the Charlotte County School Division’s six-year capital improvement plan (CIP), no decision has been made regarding the long-term capital improvements.

“This six-year CIP does not cover the big decision, which is now that Eureka is being renovated, the logical two options (of) a 550-(student) consolidated school for Bacon and Phenix or provision of funds by the (board of supervisors) to renovate Bacon and Phenix so that those facilities are equal to Eureka,” said Division Superintendent Dr. Nancy Leonard.

“The goal is equality in education for all students,” she said.

According to the plan, an estimated $24,000 will be spent this year at Phenix Elementary School to install metal caps over existing pre-cast coping.

In 2018, Bacon District Elementary School is set to see repairs and re-flashing of existing drains to correct improper installation, along with the installation of three additional drains at an estimated $52,800.

Over the next few years, the schools could see upgrades, including paving and parking lot repairs, adding roof coating to extend the life the roof and asbestos abatement in 2021 at Bacon District for an estimated total of $130,100.

Asbestos abatement will continue at Bacon District Elementary School, according to the plan, in 2022, costing about $45,440.

“However, improvements in the six-year capital improvement plan for Phenix and Bacon are minimal and most immediately needed,” Leonard said.

During a May meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, Skanska Building USA representative Curtis Elswick said Eureka’s standalone $3 million project will include HVAC mechanical systems, plumbing work, electrical systems, roofing, structural steel to accommodate rooftop mechanical units and the roof hatch, ladders for the roof hatch, demolition of ceilings, removal of existing mechanical units and patching and replacement of ceiling tile.

An estimated $2.1 million will be spent on HVAC and electrical work and $400,000 would be slated for the roofing.

Various other components of the project push the estimate to $3 million, according to Elswick.

During the meeting, Drakes Branch Supervisor Garland H. Hamlett Jr. said “the situation that the school is in is pretty serious. If it doesn’t get fixed, then we’re gonna have somebody get hurt.”

The six-year plan also outlines options for a consolidated 550-student school, which would combine Phenix and Bacon while addressing urgent needs at Eureka. The cost would be around $21.3 million for this option.

According to the plan, total consolidation of all elementary schools would run about $26 million, which could include a new 950-student school in Charlotte Court House.

“Personally, I don’t think this is a popular thing to do, and most folks in those school areas do not want this to happen,” Hamlett said regarding the consolidation of the elementary schools. “The last school board election was indicative of this.”

Hamlett said he didn’t know when a decision would be reached as to the long-term direction of the schools’ capital improvements.

He said the school board’s decision on the matter would be relayed to the board of supervisors for further action.

The plan provides options that include a basic capital improvement plan, plus a classroom addition at Phenix Elementary, which could cost about $9 million, and an option to fund the basic capital improvement plan, the classroom addition at Phenix and new activity rooms at Bacon and Phenix that comes with a price tag of about $11 million.

“The school board can make a request to the board of supervisors, but the decision comes down to what option the board of supervisors will fund,” Leonard said.