Seaford School Board approves plan for $2.5 million renovations

By Lynn R. Parks

The Seaford School Board has approved a plan for spending about $2.5 million that is left over in the high school renovation project fund. On Monday night, the board unanimously voted to accept a committee's top 10 recommendations, with one exception: The board wants more information before it gives the go-ahead for construction of an addition to the high school weight room.

The weight room was number four on a list of nearly 40 projects that was drawn up by the committee. The committee, formed by the board to give direction as to how to spend the money, consisted of district director of administrator services Joanna Adams (chairwoman), high school principal Terry Carson, associate principal Clarence Giles, parent and former board member John Hanenfeld, high school building chief Steve Henry, parent and middle school teacher Amy Pearson, and Roy Whitaker, district chief of buildings and grounds.

Board member Rebecca Adams wondered if the nearly $600,000 that the weight room would cost wouldn't be better spent on some kind of field house, where teams could practice in inclimate weather. Board member Frank Parks would like to see some kind of public restrooms built to serve the district's athletic fields, something that maybe could be part of the field house.

Supervisor of building and grounds Roy Whitaker will research how much those options would cost and will report back to the board at its next meeting.

In the meantime, work on the other nine projects can get underway. Whitaker warned the board that if they wanted the high school renovations to be completed by the start of the 2015-2016 school year, he would have to get started on ordering materials.

The projects that the board has approved are:
1 - A dividing curtain in the gymnasium.

The existing folding door is very heavy and could injure a student, Whitaker has said. Cost - $48,000
2 - Four television monitors in the cafeteria. $6,000
3 - Putting in new heating and air conditioning units throughout the school. Rooms in the Delaware New Tech wing of the building already have energy efficient units that are also very quiet. $1.377 million
4 - Replacing classroom and closet doors that are in bad condition. $75,000
5 - New, larger greenhouse for the ag department. $185,000
6 - Replacing the original student lockers that are still in the building. $182,000
7 - Repainting the gym walls. $52,000
8 - Replacing the auditorium dimmer lights. $40,000
9 - Move the computer server data center from the middle school to the high school. $30,000

If there is money left over, next on the list is repainting the first- and second-story corridor walls to match the walls in the parts of the school that have already been renovated. Cost to do that is estimated at $453,000.

The district is wrapping up the construction project that was made possible by voter approval of a $36.5 million renovation package in May 2011. The state paid 75 percent of the cost of the project, or $27 million, leaving about $9.1 million to be paid by local taxpayers.

Including in the original plans was construction of the Delaware New Tech wing in front of the school and the construction of an agriculture wing and a culinary arts wing.

In total, the school building is getting more than $5 million in renovations that were not planned as part of the original project. This is because bid prices came in much lower than were predicted.

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