By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
After costs were estimated to upgrade the school’s Wellington site to meet codes, board of education members may opt to move toward upgrades at the East 9th St. site instead.
School Supt. Joey Lefdal said a feasibility study estimated upgrades would cost $1.8 million to make the Wellington site handicap accessible and deal with electrical issues.
That estimate does not include asbestos removal or radon issues that also exist, he said. For certain, Lefdal said there is asbestos in the tile flooring and in the glue used in the building.
The board hired Studio 121 Architecture of Scottsbluff to conduct the $4,500 feasibility study, a multi-page document Lefdal and the board’s facilities committee have been reviewing. It was also discussed at the October board meeting.
The study figured costs to upgrade the Wellington site, as well as moving programs/facilities now at Wellington to the main campus.
Lefdal said issues with asbestos at the Wellington site were a big driver in getting the feasibility study conducted.
Costs of upgrading Wellington needed to be known, he said, so they could be compared with costs of additional classrooms, an auxiliary gym, wrestling practice area and bus barn at the East 9th St. location.
Asbestos at Wellington “is a big concern,” Lefdal said Monday.
That and other issues resulted in moving the junior high and high school wrestling practice area out of that building to the 4-H building on the fairgrounds this season.
In the coming year, Chase County Schools will also have to conduct an asbestos study, required of schools every three years.
The board will need to decide whether to fix the asbestos issues or take other action.
If the direction is to build new at the East 9th St. location, discussion at last month’s board meeting indicated an auxiliary gym would likely be top priority.
Feasibility study proposals at East 9th site:
Auxiliary gym—Addition to northeast corner of school building. It shows space for unified sports programming including a bowling alley.
Weight room/alternative ed. classrooms—Build a new weight room at the southeast corner of the school building so it would have its own exterior entrance. The plan also shows an indoor softball batting cage option. A classroom for the alternative ed. program now at Wellington is included in the addition, which would also have lunchroom access. The wrestling practice area would move to the current weight room site above the Longhorn gym.
Additional classrooms—A bank of four classrooms would extend to the north off the current elementary wing in the northwest part of the school building. This would aid the school’s possible shift to a grade K-4, 5-8 and 9-12 system, Lefdal said. It could also provide a classroom for the severe/profound students.
Bus barn—An area northwest of the building is shown for a new bus barn. Lefdal said that’s probably not a priority at this time.
The four areas above are only suggestions in the study, but the auxiliary gym and weight room are the two top board priorities, Lefdal said.
If things proceed, community meetings would be held to gather more input, he said.
“Money of course will be a driver” in how things proceed, too, he said.