HEBRON – A Lakewood School District facility needs assessment revealed the district’s buildings could use a total of $20,256,000 worth of improvements.
“This was a preliminary look at the district,” said Lakewood Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews, “from an objective view as well as a stakeholder view of needs. There is no plan for anything.”
The district hired architectural firm Legat Kingscott to conduct an assessment of the district’s facilities to determine its needs, list priorities and estimate costs.
Andrews said everyone involved with the district in any way will have his or her own opinion as to the district’s facility needs and how money should be spent. She said Legat Kingscott was hired to present an objective view. Clearly, Andrews said, more input from the district and especially the community is necessary before any decisions are made regarding how money will or won’t be spent. “Everyone has their own opinions of what we should do,” she said.
Andrews said aging facilities, the need for upgrades and development of a long-term plan for yearly maintenance items, and a vision for Lakewood students’ future prompted the assessment. She said now students may choose which district they attend, even if they are attending public schools, and Lakewood must remain competitive. “I would like to see school buildings that compete with what’s around here,” Andrews said. She said Lakewood offers an outstanding education and she does not want to see Lakewood students transfer to districts that offer better or more modern facilities.
According to the assessment, the following is an estimate of what each building needs and some of their suggested improvements:
• Hebron Elementary School ( estimated total upgrades- $5,227,498)- No central air conditioning currently in the building, update kitchen and restroom equipment, replace aged gas steam boilers, add a separate bus drop-off and additional parking, and update plumbing, among other improvements.
• Lakewood Middle School ( estimated total upgrades- $4,830,893)- Replacing various roof membrane and insulation, replacement of windows due to age and lack of energy efficiency, a complete replacement of interior lighting, install new security system, and update kitchen and restroom equipment, among other improvements.
• Jackson Intermediate School (estimated total upgrades $4,866,813)- Its needs are very similar to that of Lakewood Middles School, including an update and expansion of technology infrastructure, among other improvements.
• Lakewood Stadium ( estimated total upgrades- $3,300,000)- A list of specific improvements was not immediately available.
• Lakewood High School ( estimated total upgrades- $1,172,835)- Upgrading controls for temperature consistency, replacing metal coping around entire building, and install a new security system, among other improvements.
• Lakewood Bus Garage ( estimated total upgrades- $641,110)- Replacing seam metal roof and insulation, replace windows with insulated windows, install new security system, and replace and upgrade emergency and egress lighting, among other improvements.
• Lakewood Administration Office (estimated total upgrades- $217,751)- Complete replacement of interior lighting, replacing various roof membrane and insulation, and upgrade restroom equipment, among other improvements.
“I want to assure the community this is preliminary,” Andrews said. She said the next step is to continue reviewing the assessment and to develop a plan, whether it’s addressing smaller projects over a course of time or focusing on long-term projects. Developing the plan will include extensive input from staff, various district related organizations, and the community at-large.
Andrews said there has been absolutely no discussion of any levies to help fund any improvements. “We haven’t even gotten to that point,” she said. “We’re still working on dissecting the report. We have lots of work to do.”
Andrews said the assessment cost the district $10,000. The district has also paid Newark’s Jobes Henderson & Associates $8,300 to assess the Calhoun Memorial Field facility while Project Lancer works to raise money for significant upgrades, including replacing the grass field with artificial turf. She said the assessment is necessary because no one wants to experience any unpleasant surprises once Project Lancer’s work actually begins. “We don’t know what’s underneath that turf,” Andrews said.