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WCSD: Schools need $40M in work

Warren County’s schools will need about $40 million in work over the next five years.

The bulk of that work is centered in two buildings and the needed maintenance after five years is not as dramatic.

According to a facilities assessment overview presented by Jon Thomas of Thomas and Williamson, the Warren County School District is looking at an average of almost $4 million per year in facilities maintenance for more than 20 years.

Despite external appearances, Youngsville High School has the most needs, Thomas said.

“You look at the front of Youngsville, it looks like it’s in pretty good shape,” Thomas said. “There’s sort of a Western movie set effect going on there.”

“You have a rather large building,” he said. “A lot of the systems are non-functional. The MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) system you need a lot of work there now.”

“I know you’ve done some window replacement work,” Thomas said. “There’s a lot more to be done.”

It needs about $18.2 million in the next five years.

“You have a rather significant project facing you now at Sheffield,” Thomas said.

The building needs about $15.4 million in the first five years.

Among the projects required in the short term are masonry repointing, middle high school roof, doors and hardware, window replacement, wall, ceiling, floor finishes, lockers, food service equipment, and MEP system updates.

Warren Area Elementary Center will need about $3.5 million in work over five years; $3 million at Youngsville Elementary School; about $1 million at Eisenhower; and less than that at Beaty.

Warren Area High School is not expected to need significant work for 10 years and Warren County Career Center is good for about 15, according to the report.

“In the zero to five, there’s about $40 million worth of things that need to be done,” Thomas said.

He suggested the district look to limit its losses.

“The key here is to look closely at the use,” he said. “I know you’re always looking at your student loading. You might want to look at whether you want to hold onto all these buildings in the long-term.”

“If you keep everything open and you try to keep everything tip-top, you’re going to pay a lot of money per student when you have under-utilization,” he said.

As a way of looking to the master facilities plan in the long-term, the district has undergone a demographic study and now the facilities condition report.

The next stage is developing strategies, Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht said.

Board members agreed that was a task best left until they could meet face-to-face.

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