Chesterton Tribune



Bus barn repairs, auditorium refurb top schools' to-do list

Back To Front Page


Duneland Director of Support Services Greg Lindy rolled out his latest to-do list of projects at Monday’s meeting of the Duneland School Board.

Those projects--including $175,000 in repairs to the bus barn and refurbishments of school auditoriums--are set for this summer and the upcoming school year.

“The paint is falling off” at the bus barn, Lindy said. “The beams are rusting. The ceiling is deteriorating. I think there is more rain water coming out of the seams of the gutter than what comes out of the downspout.”

Meanwhile, needing a total rebuild at CHS are the “chiller” cooling units, Lindy said. That work will be done over the summer when summer school is not in session.

Maintenance workers also look to replace the ballasted roofs at Yost Elementary. They will be the last of that roof type at Duneland.

Bleacher inspections and refurbishing-- to be done at select schools such as CHS and CMS--will cost another $36,000.

Lindy said that with the snow piling up non-stop this winter, increased maintenance of fences, sidewalks, and parking lots will be done on a priority basis. “They all got their spots just like the highways and streets.”

Sometime next year, Lindy would like to refurbish seats, put in new carpeting, splash on a new coat of paint, and install new lights behind the acoustic panels in the CMS auditorium.

He would also like to replace the stage curtains at CHS, Liberty Intermediate, and Westchester Intermediate to ensure that they are properly fire retardant.

Other projects:

* Maintenance of the rigging for the CHS stage.

* Refurbishing the concession area at CMS with new outlets and replacing the front window area.

* Replacing the hot water heater and expansion tank at LIS, which are about 30 years old, with a new energy efficient system. Cafeteria remodeling is also planned for LIS.

* Lighting upgrades at the CMS gymnasium and a remodel of the fitness room.

* Patch the CHS football stadium’s turf where needed.

* Install new security access systems and cameras at the entrances of Yost and Jackson Elementary Schools.

* Make continual repairs on all DSC playgrounds.

Pruis said the projects will be funded from Capital Projects, which was approved at $10.5 million for 2014. However, Pruis added, the fund is at 50-percent neutralization to meet pension debt and funds will be limited over the next two years until the bonds meet full neutralization.

In a related matter, the board also approved the replacement of four 66-passenger school buses and two special needs buses.

With trade-ins, the cost for the buses total $498,944, $50,000 less than what the costs originally were, said Duneland Director of Transportation Jim Bonfield.

Bonfield said those costs are about $1,000 less than what they were in 2013.

Legislative Update

In other board business, Member John Marshall--the board’s legislative liaison--reported that many of the bills still alive in the Indiana House and Senate may be changed as deadlines approach. The General Assembly adjourns officially on March 14.

Ayres, a former state representative, said that bills which appear dead have the chance to come back in the final seconds of the Assembly.

One educational bill that could be helpful is Senate Bill 143, which allows school districts to be “creative” on how to refund their debt, Marshall said.

A bill requiring school bus cameras to capture images of motorists illegally passing a school bus is still on the table, he said, but it’s likely it will be killed.

Bills likely to go into conference committees include one which would eliminate the business personnel property tax. Marshall said Duneland was one of the first districts in Indiana whose board passed a resolution denouncing the business property tax break.

Day of Caring

In another matter, the board received a presentation from Liberty Intermediate of its upcoming Day of Caring on May 23.

LIS Principal Greg Guernsey and guidance counselor Lindsey Megyesi said all fifth-grade and sixth-grade classes are excited to participate, as each student chooses a service project.

Visiting seniors at Addison Pointe Nursing home, visiting with students at Jackson and Liberty Elementary Schools, and reading to the elderly are some of those activities. Helping out at the Duneland Boys and Girls Club, the Westchester Public Library, the Independent Cat Society, and YMCA Day Care are others.

A few students also shared their experiences with the board and how it has influenced their character and self-confidence.

“I really felt like I had done something. I gave back,” said LIS sixth-grader Alan Stirling who used his time and talent to landscape around the entrance of the Duneland YMCA Day Care at the middle school. “One day of caring turned into several days of caring. In the long run, it changed me as a person.”



Posted 3/4/2014