How to spend approximately $9.9 million in federal government Covid relief funds was the topic at a special meeting Monday of the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education.
Treasurer Ben Teeters said the school district has been told it will receive approximately $6.9 million in American Rescue Plan funds and a little over $3 million in Esser funds. But he said those numbers could also be adjusted.
A priority list of improvements totaling about $5.8 million was presented to the school board at the special meeting. That list includes the high school/middle school HVAC system ($1,001,719), the elementary school HVAC system (nearly $1 million), other building HVAC needs ($350,000), rubber mulch rather than wood mulch for some playground areas ($655,689), fixing a cupola on the elementary school ($75,000), a lean-to for the bus garage ($30,000), a concrete floor and remodeling of the FFA barn ($40,000), Cassner Building upgrades ($253,210), new restrooms ($533,456) and locker rooms and bleachers at the soccer/track complex ($1,500,000).
A “wish list” of other possible improvements at the football field and high school sports complex was presented. For the football field the list includes: a stadium entry and ticket booth ($375,617), artificial turf on the football field ($1,002,647) and an added parking area above the field ($300,000). For the high school sports complex the list includes: a baseball field with artificial turf ($1,416,333), a softball field with artificial turf ($978,936), a soccer field with artificial turf ($1,036,607) and a field house ($6,000,000).
Superintendent Tim Davis said the money needs to be spent by the end of 2023, and that the district would like to start on some of the projects by May of 2022.
He said improvements to the HVAC systems would improve circulation and air filtration.
Wood mulch is brought in for some of the playgrounds each year, Davis said, while rubber mulch in other areas has lasted multiple years and gives students more chances to be outside using the playgrounds.
He said the cupola on the elementary school roof above the library has leaked for several years. The goal is to get rid of sky lights on the cupola, then put a new cupola back on the building.
A lean-to on the bus garage would house the district’s original Tomahawk food truck and a second “Juice Box” vehicle that was added for the summer feeding program this year.
A concrete floor in the FFA building would allow the district to offer fork lift certification to students, Davis said.
The Cassner Building at the former school site off West Main Street needs upgrades, according to Davis, because it currently has one toilet, one urinal and three showers for an entire football team. He said the building would be basically gutted and redone. He said that would cost around $250,000, while estimates for a new building were around $2 million.
Davis said student/athletes currently have no place to change clothes at the track/soccer complex, and have to use public restrooms, and that new locker rooms and restrooms would also give them a safe place to go in the event of inclement weather.
He said the wish list items are still being discussed, and that a field house, “is kind of a pie in the sky item,” but that it would give student/athletes that participate in outdoor sports a place to practice when they can’t practice outside.
After Monday’s meeting Davis said the school district would see where everything is, put specs out, then look for a construction manager to help the district through the projects. He said all projects would need to be approved by the school board.
During the regular board meeting, Davis said the first three days of school were successful and things were running smooth with the first full day of kindergarten coming Wednesday.
Over the course of the summer, Davis said, the food program served 52,098 meals, including a one-day high of 1,118 meals on the last day of the program.
“It’s just outstanding what (food service director) Jessica (Walker) and her staff do,” Davis said.
The superintendent noted that according to preliminary school report card data, the district scored well last year and was above the state average in all 20 categories.
“Despite all the Covid and all the drama of last year, we came out on the other side having one of the best years we’ve ever had,” Davis said.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.