go to Fairview and was told it wouldn’t, as it is designated for hiring the company Siemens to replace prior contractors who managed the district’s HVAC systems.
Van den Berg went on that her fifth-grade daughter had smelled gas in her classroom and she asked what the policy and procedure is for a reported gas odor. Gorham explained that, when he received the call about the gas smell at Fairview, he toured the school and smelled it only in one classroom. A similar situation happened two weeks ago, he said, and the district called the gas company and was told the school was clear. Gas company workers were scheduled to return to the school to investigate again. But, Gorham added, employees at Fairview stated gas smells have been noticed there for 14 years.
When a gas smell is detected in a building, it should be evacuated, Van den Berg replied, and said she called the gas company herself and was told this. Then, she said, a combustible gas index tester should be used. “They said no amount of gas is good and that you should immediately evacuate,” Van den Berg went on. “I worry we’re not taking the proper steps.”
Her daughter complained of not feeling well, in relation to the gas smell, and feeling better after she left the building, Van den Berg said, adding that others in the fifth-grade classrooms have reported having headaches. “I question your response to the incident,” Van den Berg told Gorham. He replied that he understands and shares her concerns, and that the district is addressing the issue.
(The following week, on Feb. 21, gas was again smelled in the fifth-grade pod at Fairview and, this time, the school was evacuated. In an email to Fairview parents that day, Principal Kevin Seyer noted that, upon the evacuation, UGI gas company was called, the building was checked for gas by a technician, and none was detected. Further, all HVAC units on the roof were assessed, one unit was found to be shut down, originating the smell, and the unit manufacturer was scheduled to make repairs.)
At the Feb. 13 meeting, Van den Berg went on that, last year, Fairview students had to wear their coats in school because they had no heat. She questioned the board’s use of funds, for example in building a new field house, when the HVAC system at Fairview needs repairs.
Gorham responded that the board will be holding an executive session on Feb. 22 and has held other meetings, to discuss this matter. “We are painfully aware of these realities…and also facing the financial realities,” he said. “I assure you, we hear what you are saying.”
The district has to make decisions on whether “to repair and stabilize” old buildings or start over, Gorham went on. Last year, the district hired Hunt Engineers to conduct a three-month evaluation of the school’s buildings, at a cost of over $23,000. The evaluation was to help the district decide what renovations should be a priority and what may need improvement in the future. The elementary schools were said to be marked on the renovation plan.
Last March, the district took out $4.5 million in bonds, to revamp outdated areas such as the auditorium and science labs at the secondary campus, to possibly refurbish other buildings, and to build new facilities such as a field house, providing locker rooms and bathroom areas for sports spectators.
At the Feb. 13 meeting, Gorham noted that, while the Hunt study identified areas that need to be addressed, it didn’t give the district enough details to easily make decisions on what should be repaired. “We’re also aware of the population increasing and we don’t want to be hastily making decisions or be throwing money at a bad situation,” he said.
Other business In other business, the board
approved the purchase of property at 310 South Main Road, in the amount of $240,000. This property sits behind the current secondary campus property.
The board hired Kobalt Construction Inc., as the contractor for the field house site work, in the amount of $1,468,880. Also approved was payment to Quad 3 Group, Inc., for architectural work and civil services on the field house project, in the amounts of $55,066, $8,625, $44,000, and $13,600. The Quad 3 payments are to come from the PLGIT Capital Projects Fund.
Quad 3 also received payment for the secondary campus auditorium renovation, in the amount of $2,917. The board moved that Air Excellence would install a four-ton air conditioner unit and accessories for the IT room, at a cost of $6,850. Payment was also approved to Herron Electric, for $2,675 and $1,695, relating to the air conditioning and heating unit in the IT room.
Ten of the high school’s chorus students, who qualified for district competition, sang the National Anthem at the beginning of the board meeting. Teacher Mary Leo related that, of the ten students who auditioned for districts from Crestwood, all ten made it. Five of those students then moved on to regionals, the most to make it that far from Crestwood. She added that, with March being “Music in Our Schools” month, a talent show will be held on March 8, at 6:30 p. m.
Director Barry Boone commended the students and advisors from the secondary campus’s Math Club, for collecting a substantial amount of food for the school’s Backpack Program, which provides meals and snacks to low-income students.
The board also added May 25, June 8, and June 11 to the calendar as snow make-up days.