SIERRA VISTA — School Facilities Board (SFB) funding from the state and questions about bond project timeline topped discussions at Tuesday’s Sierra Vista Unified School District (SVUSD) bond oversight committee meeting.
Committee President Jerry Proctor opened the meeting by saying he had met with Superintendent Kelly Glass regarding questions about SFB funding and the status of different projects across the district.
Proctor said that he has been communicating with Glass via email, but he requested a face-to-face meeting with the superintendent, which he felt was beneficial and helped to “create more cooperation between the oversight committee and the school district.”
“I got an update on a number of things,” said Proctor, who talked about plans to replace HVAC systems across the district through a contract with Climatech, Inc. “The HVACs are not going to be done with bond dollars, but are going to be done with this company.”
When asked how the HVAC systems are being funded, board President Barbara Williams said some of the money will initially come out of the district’s capital fund, but will be paid back through energy savings. No bond funds will be used the new HVAC systems, she said.
For a number of months, bond committee members have expressed concerns about the status of state funds from the SFB in relation to roofing projects at different sites around the district. The roof replacements are on the bond’s list of priorities and committee members are concerned about timelines for getting the work done if they wait for SFB money, as the funding process is slow.
SFB funds will help extend the district’s bond dollars, but some committee members question whether the money will come through quickly enough to meet construction timelines. It’s a concern that Proctor shared with Glass during their meeting, and asked for a joint work session between the oversight committee and school district.
Glass has agreed to a February work session for the purpose of updating the oversight committee on the status of different projects and the SFB process as well as their potential to get funded through the SFB, Proctor said.
The February work session date has not been determined, as it will need to be placed on an upcoming school board agenda and go through a vote.
When construction subcommittee member Doris Caldwell questioned the status of funding for the roofing projects, Williams noted that SFB funding for the Rothery Center roof has already been awarded and the project will start next month.
“We’re in the assessment phase for Joyce Clark Middle School, Pueblo del Sol and Town & Country,” she said.
In addition, a roofing project at Buena High School has already been authorized, Williams said.
Caldwell also questioned whether there will be adequate bond money available to complete priority projects, in the event that some of the SFB money fails to come through.
Joe Kraps, who chairs the construction subcommittee, shared that concern and is requesting the district to provide timelines for when projects need to be completed.
“We need to know the timelines for the construction projects,” he said. “We don’t know if there’s a grace period, a soft ending, a hard ending. I think there’s a time limit and I want to know what that is.”
Proctor said he expects the timelines and status of construction projects will be discussed in the work session with the district, as Glass and board members are aware of their concerns.
Moving onto another issue, Proctor said committee member Marge Carrithers “did a marvelous job” of putting together an updated list of the 58 bond projects.
The update — which is still in draft form — provides a list of what projects are done, what still needs to be done, how much money has been spent, and how much is left.
While Caldwell agreed the list is helpful, she said it would be good to know how much money has been committed to unfinished projects on the bond list.
“When you look at the projected numbers...we should have a running tally,” she said. “What she (Carrithers) did is great, but we need projected totals.”
In his construction update, Kraps said the PdS multipurpose room will be going to bid in December, with construction expected to start in February. The estimated cost for the project is coming in slightly lower than initially projected.
Other upcoming projects include replacing drinking fountains at JCMS, replacing flooring at Buena High School and Bella Vista and fencing replacement at PdS, along with a portable building removal at PdS.
The next oversight committee meeting is Nov. 26 at 5:15 in the school district governing board room, 3555 E. Fry Blvd. There oversight committee will not be meeting in December.