Recently hired Affton School District Building and Grounds Director Jeff Rooks has an ambitious vision of the future for all of the district’s buildings and campuses, one he shared with Superintendent Travis Bracht and the board of education at their Sept. 3 meeting.
Rook and Finance Director Steve Fedchak began the discussion — in a workshop embedded in the regular meeting — by noting that the district has almost completed an expansive list of facilities upgrades the board approved in 2013 as part of a $24 million district-wide improvement program. Fedchak pointed out that the list has cost less than the $24 million the board budgeted out of existing funds.
“Probably half of the current board was not here when that list was approved. I know I was not,” Fedchak said. “Seventeen of the items have been completed, two more will be by the end of 2020.”
Those two are the main administrative entry way and support areas at Rogers Middle School.
But the board and administrators spent more time envisioning the future as far out as 2030 with district-spanning ideas for which cost estimates have yet to be refined.
Short-term, Rooks plans to replace the six-foot-tall, 320-foot-long retaining wall on the high school campus that separates the existing practice field from the parking area. The project will also remove the existing handball courts.
“It’s a safety issue. In the short time I’ve been here, I’ve heard that many times,” Rooks said.
The plan would also create a second traffic lane. Fedchak said the project began as a $500,000 undertaking to be paid out of recent taxpayer-approved bond proceeds, but the cost has probably risen to $1.5 million as additional issues have been discovered.
Rooks is recommending the district maintain an annual budget of $2.8 million for ongoing projects including roof replacements, radio equipment, resurfacing of parking areas and more. He is also recommending the district retain a project manager to oversee work bid processing.
Rooks is also putting together a plan for reducing the district’s energy consumption by 50 percent.
“If we got a report card on our buildings, we’d fail on our Energy Star (ratings,),” he said.
Energy Star ratings are assigned by the U.S. Department of Energy. The highest a building can attain is a 100; None of the Affton Districts structures are rated higher than 51.
The board also discussed in general terms the often-mentioned replacement of the high school football field with artificial turf. Administrators believe that project would cost at least $750,000.
“That remains on our list because it’s something that keeps coming up. We haven’t said when and if we’re going to do it,” said Board President Patricia Zahn.
High School Gym Windows To Be Replaced For $239,000
The board approved a $172,426 contract with St. Louis-based Kalicak Construction to replace the windows at main gym, upper gym and pool area at Affton High School. Three contractors attended the pre-bid meeting with grounds staff, but only Kalicak submitted a bid.
A related item was the extension of a $7,487 contract to Midwest Asbestos Abatement of St. Peters to remove asbestos from the high school gym windows. Global Environmental also submitted a bid for the work.