School board hears HNHS, Salamonie have most pressing maintenance needs

Salamonie School and Huntington North High School have the most pressing maintenance needs of any school buildings in Huntington County.

That's according to a presentation made Monday, Oct. 12, by Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer and Assistant Superintendent for Business David McKee to the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of Trustees.

"One thing that I can't find in the history of this corporation really ever having is a complete action plan for building to building maintenance," Shafer says. "When I say maintenance, I'm not just talking about painting the doorframes and putting shingles on. I'm talking about major maintenance: new roofs, new heating ventilation and air conditioning, relighting the buildings ... things like that that are large cost expenditures by building."

A long-range facility plan, he says, will aid the corporation.

"I think that helps us set priorities and helps us look at what needs to be done now and if we wait, what happens?"

McKee presented a color-coded chart that graded each school on a scale to illustrate current and future maintenance needs. The areas charted were air conditioning, heating and ventilation, roofing, structure, parking lot and miscellaneous needs.

McKee explained that red represented an area that needs to be dealt with in the next zero to three years, orange is four to seven years, yellow was around eight to 12 years and green was over 12 years.

The newest schools of the corporation (Andrews, Lincoln and Flint Springs elementary schools) were graded all green.

Salamonie School and Huntington North High School were graded all red except for the roofs, which were green. McKee said for the most part, all of the schools have pretty good roofs.

Issues for some schools were discussed, such as Northwest and Lancaster Elementary schools and their outdated ventilation systems. McKee explained that they have no windows that open in the classrooms and the standard that has been set for the quality of fresh air presents an issue for the board needs to study.

Board member Rex Baxter mentioned that Horace Mann Elementary School's roof leaks and has for a long time.
McKee said another thing to look at for all schools is handicapped accessibility.

After McKee's presentation, Shafer told the board it needed to prioritize maintenance items.

"What we need to be trying to be doing is thinking about when do we work on the red stuff? When do make improvements?" Shafer said. "And again, I think that all has to be done in the context of continually improving the educational and structural environment."

Board member Tom King asked how the projects that needed to be done would be funded. McKee and Shafer said that small, short-term loans would be involved.

"Anything of a significant amount would have to be borrowed," said Shafer.