Better security behind Portage schools’ projects list
By John Robbins Post-Tribune correspondent April 28, 2013 10:18PM
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:10PM
Portage schools superintendent Ric Frataccia unveiled a two-year $2.7 million capital projects list at the Wednesday night meeting of the school board. The price tag for the projects will likely go up because some of the items do not yet have cost estimates.
Security remains a leading concern for the school district. Cost estimates for securing nine entryways leading into the schools are not yet available, awaiting architectural and engineering designs. One elementary school’s security issue is more dramatic than others and will necessitate a major remodeling to move classrooms to more secure locations, said Frataccia.
The list includes nearly $200,000 for security cameras. In a related security issue, the board had earlier accepted a gift from the Portage police department of nine police radios. The radios will be installed in principal’s offices and allow direct communication with all Portage police officers instead of first having a call routed through centralized dispatch.
“In emergency situations, two or three minutes can be the difference between bringing a crisis to a successful conclusion or a challenging one,” said Frataccia.
Leading the list of 2013 projects is a replacement fire retardant stage curtain for the high school, priced at $30,299. “The minute someone says ‘fire,’ it becomes number one,” said Frataccia about replacing the aging curtain.
Ten classrooms are listed to have existing carpeting replaced with tile. “When you’re fixing a carpet by putting down duct tape, it’s time to replace the carpet,” said Frataccia.
One of the biggest costs is $569,000 to replace five direct drive controls - devices that control school lights and heating/cooling from a central location. The current devices are outdated, explained Frataccia. To keep the devices in operation requires scavenging parts from other schools that are eliminating or replacing theirs
Repairing and replacing parking lot asphalt will cost nearly $500,000. Indicative of the need for repair, Trustee William Fekete noted that the Portage street department recently sent two dump trucks to patch potholes in school owned parking lots. Board president Cheryl Oprisko asked that a thank-you letter be sent to the street department for their efforts.
Frataccia expects to pay for the projects from what remains of the high school construction bond fund, the school’s capital improvement fund and rainy day fund.