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Belfield school to do nearly $1M worth of improvements

During its July meeting, the Belfield School Board approved nearly $1 million worth of projects to improve the school's aging facility.

The projects were suggested by the CTS Group, a construction company the board tasked with compiling a list of potential projects. It presented its list to the board which chose eight projects to complete.

Most of the work will be done from the gym, north, and will include retrofitting the lights to support LED lights and working to improve air quality, temperature and humidity control and ventilation.

They will install destratification fans which mix the warmer air near the ceiling with the cooler air at the ground, reducing hot and hold spots as well as the energy and time needed to heat a space. They will install a vent-less heating system in the north addition and a new heating and cooling system in the north addition's computer room.

"The big one, I think, is we’re going to do some facility ventilation improvements in the gym. We’re going to put some rooftop units with some AC in it, so that’s going to help with some ventilation and keep(ing) it a little cooler," Kurle said.

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They will winterize the entire school, and in the boiler room, they will waterproof and repair the concrete.

The total estimated cost for the projects is $991,994. Kurle said taxes will not be increased, as the school will be using 7.41 of its 20 building fund mils to make payments for 10 years at an interest rate of 3.5%.

"We’re going to do it on a tax exempt municipal lease purchase and financing agreement with Connetic Leasing, so we don’t have to put it to a vote. We’ve elected to buy down probably $150,000 out of our building fund, so that’s going to leave the amount to be financed at $841,000," he said.

Kurle said these projects don't address everything that could be done to the school.

"We’ve met a few times, and the time before, their price tag was a lot higher for the projects that they wanted to do. We just kinda said, ‘Here’s what we think we need to get done,’ and they scaled it back a little bit ... It doesn’t take care of the entire school for everything, just some of the stuff," said Daren Kurle, Belfield's superintendent.

The plan includes a contingency of $40,000, in case the district sees a need to complete other projects while the group is there.

"We can just say, ‘Okay. We want you now to fix this.’ For example, they just threw some scenarios out like we want to put a big projector screen in the gym. That could be something that they could take care of. I just sign off on it; they secure the work for it and boom, it’s done. It’s going to be nice, be nice to get it done," Kurle said.

The district is still pursuing a new school, but realizes there is work that needs to be done in the meantime.

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"You know, who knows how long we’re going to be in here? I’m going to just guess it’s probably going to be another seven years, so why not invest now? Get your savings out of it as quickly as you can and go from there," Kurle said.

In other news, Belfield's new bleachers are complete.

"They look great. Now we've got a wheelchair ramp for wheelchair accessibility. They're away from the fence, so people can sit above and be able to see the field better," Kurle said.

The district is waiting for the plans for its press box, called the Crow's Nest, to be complete. It is also waiting for the west side of 6th Street to be vacated.

"We don't have the deed for the house yet. The city is waiting for us to get the deed on the house, and then they'll do the street vacation. They'll need an easement from us to get access," Kurle said.

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Related Topics: EDUCATION
Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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