What's in the Works for Ocean City School Buildings?
The district is planning for significant capital improvements and is sharing information with the public.
Ocean City school officials met with the public Tuesday to share information about school facility projects in the works.
The presentation, held at the Ocean City Free Public Library, was the first of what the district hopes will be many more public forums to create awareness of school issues, according to Ray Clark, chairman of the Ocean City Board of Education's Public Relations Committee.
With a new Ocean City High School completed in 2004 and a major renovation of the Ocean City Intermediate School completed in 2010, the school district will turn its attention to the last remaining school, Ocean City Primary School, which has not received any major upgrade since it was built in the 1970s.
The school needs a new roof, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems, windows and doors. The district hopes to complete the project within two years, and the estimated $5.1 million price tag potentially could be financed by some combination of: a state Regular Operating District (ROD) Grant (that can cover 40 percent of the project cost), the district's capital reserve fund (which currently has a balance of about $3 million) and borrowing (the district would hold a public referendum on a bond issue).
At the same time, the school district is tackling two costly projects related to the new Ocean City High School: an auditorium floor that allows water to infiltrate and a faulty HVAC system.
The district is pursuing litigation in hopes of recovering costs for the two high school projects from the contractor that completed the job. But, in the interim, the district will move forward with projects to fix the issues.
"We have to have a safe environment for the kids," Board of Education President Brenda Moiso said.
The school district spends about 10 percent of its annual budget on capital improvements and sustaining existing facilities, according to Business Administrator Tom Grossi.
In a PowerPoint presentation, he offered a summary of the extraordinary expenses the district anticipates in the near term:
Ocean City Primary School
- $5,079,709 with funding through a possible state ROD Grant, capital reserve and borrowing
- Work to be done within next two years
- Roof replacement, HVAC systems replacement, fire alarm and electrical systems replacement, plumbing replacement, exterior window replacement and exterior door replacement
Ocean City High School Auditorium Project
- $750,000 with funding through the 2013-14 budget
- Work to be done in summer 2013
- Replacement of waterproofing systems, which requires replacement of the entire auditorium floor
Ocean City High School HVAC and Floor Issues
- $2,270,000 with funding through a possible state ROD grant, capital reserve and borrowing
- Work to be done in summer 2014
- Provide reheat capabilities for fan coil units, replace the chiller package, replace the boiler package and replace the heat recovery units.
- Terrazzo flooring: cracks throughout the building with a proper fix and cost yet to be determined.
Tuesday's presentation also included a summary of some recently completed projects:
- High school courtyard: Clamshells and weeds were replaced by a new substructure and sod, and the courtyard was equipped with tables and umbrellas for use by students during lunch.
- Intermediate school courtyard (rain garden): Using mostly volunteer labor and donated material, the school transformed its courtyard into a rain garden featuring native plants and a new deck for student use.
- Mold prevention: The district purchased humidity and moisture meters and established a program of routine inspections and communiciations. The systems include email alerts for high humidity and temperature. The HVAC project at the high school also is part of the solution.