posted Sep 18, 2015, 10:17 AM by Rita Sanders
updated Sep 18, 2015, 12:24 PM
BGPS Works to Maintain, Update, Prioritize Facilities
September 18, 2015
As the number of students attending Battle Ground Public Schools has grown, so too has the number and variety of school buildings. Some, like the Tukes Valley campus, are newer. And others, like Glenwood and Laurin, are reaching the end of their 50-year lifespan.
No matter the age of the buildings on Battle Ground's 19 school campuses, the district strives to keep its students safe, warm and dry in aesthetically pleasing buildings that the community can be proud of. But it's also one of the biggest fiscal challenges, especially in years when state education funds are limited. Over the past several years, the district reduced the amount of money allotted to facilities maintenance to cover other priorities.
"The district has a responsibility to take care of the schools the community has entrusted to us," Superintendent Mark Hottowe said. "Our infrastructure functions at a high level. I'm committed to fund facilities at a level that will maintain the infrastructure of our buildings and systems, as well as make progress on the aesthetics of schools and the grounds around them. We want them to be a reflection of the pride of our community in our schools."
Besides upgrades and occasional repairs, there are things the district must do every year to maintain schools. A list of annual maintenance plus some of the upgrades the district has completed in the last two years is listed below.
- Inspect, pump and clean septic systems
- Inspect fire alarms
- Inspect fire sprinkler systems
- Inspect and clean exhaust hoods in kitchens
- Inspect backflow systems for outdoor sprinklers
- Inspect and maintain elevators
- Clean and restripe parking lots
- Clean carpets
- Replace filters in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
Major projects recently completed:
- Hired two staff members to maintain school grounds
- Hired two staff members to paint the interior and exterior of buildings
- New roof on CASEE B building
Battle Ground High School
- New exterior paint
- Work is beginning this week on the front of the welding shop and a new roof
- New batting cages installed this summer by the district and volunteers
- New fencing along Main Street
- Landscape beautification by teaching staff and horticulture students
- A new chiller installed through an energy service company (ESCO) process is expected to pay for itself over the next few years through reduced energy costs. A rebate from Clark Public Utilities District and money from capital bonds paid for the system.
- Two of three phases completed of parking lot repaving. Phase three expected to be completed next summer.
- Repaired and resurfaced the gym floor
- New carpet in 500 building
- Remodeled business marketing classrooms with a computer lab that enables student collaboration on projects and presentations
- HVAC control upgrades
- Parking lot repaved and reconfigured for safety and to add parking spaces
- STEM classroom created from part of a shop class
- New exterior paint
One of the top five concerns that came out of last spring's Thoughtexchange survey of the community's perspective is facilities and resources. Battle Ground's board of directors has enlisted a volunteer group of more than 20 community members from across the district to create a long-term strategic plan that will prioritize the remodel and replacement of older buildings and the construction of new schools to meet enrollment growth and the needs of 21st century learning in classrooms.
The group, called the Facilities Improvement Team (FIT), is examining whether there is a need for additional schools and classrooms to meet growing enrollment. FIT members are also using data and information from a Study and Survey conducted by the third-party architectural firm LSW to identify necessary repairs and modifications throughout the district. The LSW Study and Survey also identified buildings that are reaching the end of their lifespans and qualify for state construction assistance, including Glenwood Heights Primary, Laurin Middle School, Pleasant Valley and Prairie.
Systems such as plumbing, electricity and HVAC are a major component of a building's usability. While those systems can be updated on the outside (for example, the district replaced all flushing plumbing fixtures a few years ago with low-flow devices), the pipes, wiring and ducts that run inside the buildings--behind sheetrock and underneath flooring--are often cost prohibitive to replace. "The school district has done a great job maintaining its facilities," said FIT facilitator Dave Halme during a school board presentation in June. At that meeting, the FIT team recommended the school board consider putting a bond on a future ballot. "Some buildings are reaching the end of their life," Halme said.