The Fieldcrest Board of Education along with several Minonk residents were led on a tour of the 4 school buildings in the school district Wednesday evening. The tour was led by John Bishop, the school's architect from the Farnsworth Group. The objective of the tour was to show the building issues that need to be resolved in order to meet requirements of the 10 Year Life Safety study.
The tour started in the Fieldcrest High School building in Minonk which was built in 1938. Among the major issues at the high school building are the electrical wiring, windows that need to be replaced, fixing water seepage in the brick veneer, an outdated lab room, replacing outdated electrical boxes, replacing glass doors with safety glass, and making the exit in the cafeteria more accessible.
According to study commissioned by the school, the cost to repair the high school building would be $12,255,780. In addition to the issues mentioned above, the report also recommended putting in an elevator and ramps for $750,000, replacing lighting with new LED lights and new panel board and circuit breakers for $450,000, a new heating system for $2,550,000, a new water distribution system for $850,000 and a sprinkler system for $670,000. Replacing the 122 windows would cost $880,000.
During the tour Dave Uphoff asked Mr. Bishop why previous Life Safety studies never recommended all of these changes. Mr. Uphoff stated that surely some of these building issues have been around longer than 10 years. Mr. Bishop replied that studies by a previous firm had glossed over the building issues and necessary changes were not recommended. Mr. Bishop stated that he felt compelled to report these building issues in order to preserve the integrity of his profession as an architect.
Mr. Uphoff asked why sprinkler systems and elevators were included in the cost analysis when those items are only needed when the repair cost exceeds 50% of new construction cost. Mr. Bishop replied that early on in the study it was determined by the state that the repair cost will be more than 50% of the new construction cost and, therefore, these costs were included in the study.
The group then traveled to Wenona to tour the Fieldcrest Middle School. The biggest problem there was the integrity of the walls in both the old building built in 1926 and the addition built in the 1960s. The walls in the old building are gradually moving out and within 5 years could potentially collapse. The walls on the newer addition are covered with plywood panels which are not sealed properly and the wood is rotting from the inside. These walls will also need to be rebuilt. In addition, the metal supports above the glass block walls in the old building are deteriorating and need to be replaced. The newer addition to the Wenona school is by far in the worst condition of any of the Fieldcrest school buildings.
The cost to repair the middle school in Wenona is $16,709,520. Among the large items included in the study is $2,255,000 to replace classroom unit ventilators with new and reconnect to louver to allow mechanical ventilation, $1,104,000 to provide an entirely new domestic water distribution piping throughout the school, $1,200,000 to replace all windows, $1.600.000 to patch and repair all existing potholes and deteriorated paving surfaces and install new overlay, and $3,125,000 to fix all the wall issues.
A tour was conducted at the Fieldcrest Secondary School in Toluca which had fewer building issues. The total cost to renovate the school building is $2,533, 560. Among the major repair items was $745,000 for new water distribution piping throughout the school, $225,00 for a new roofing assembly and $175,000 for new LED lighting.
The last stop was at the Fieldcrest Primary School in Minonk which is considered to be in the best shape of all the buildings as its repair cost was $1,221,690. The major repair items at the school is $381,500 for new water distribution piping throughout the school and $135,000 for new LED lighting.
There will be a public meeting scheduled for next week where the public will be invited to ask questions and bring their comments to the Fielcrest Board regarding the school's building issues.