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FAQ's Regarding Proposed School Building Improvements

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1. Q:  
Will there be a FEMA Shelter AND a new wrestling room at the high school/cafeteria at the elementary school?
    A:  The FEMA shelter can be doubled up and utilized as a wrestling room at the high school.  The FEMA shelter at the elementary school can be doubled up and utilized as the cafeteria.  Refer to the pictures on www.usd298.com where in other districts the FEMA shelter doubles as a classroom.

2.  Q: Please provide the itemized budget for the project as presented to the board. I'm looking for details related to the projected cost for each portion of the project.  

3.   Q:  Please provide the March 7th Presentation.

4.  Q: Did the board consider building storm shelters below grade?
     A:  The cost to build a below grade storm shelter is substantially higher than the cost to build a stand FEMA-rated storm shelter. With strict FEMA guidelines and regulations, the district feels that a standard above-ground FEMA storm safe room will provide the safest environment in severe weather for our students, staff, and community at the lowest cost to taxpayers.

5. Q:  Are the storm shelters being built for use in severe weather only?
    A:  The proposed storm safe room at Lincoln Jr./Sr. High is a multi-purpose room that can be used for daily activities such as a classroom, general activity space, or wrestling room. The safe room at Lincoln Elementary School will be a cafeteria for students and staff to utilize on a daily basis.

6.  Q:  What is the total square footage of the roof being replaced and what roofing types were considered by the district?
     A:  There is approximately 110,000 sq ft. of roof between the two buildings in USD 298. There are several factors being taken into consideration by the BOE as to what the best type of roofing solution is: type of roof currently in place, first cost of roof compared to expected useful lifetime, types of warranty, etc. 

7.   Q:  What is the proposed size and capacity of the two storm shelters?
      A:  The community storm shelters at both locations will be 2,400, sq. ft. with a capacity of ~300 people at each building.

8.    Q:  How did the district choose the engineering company as its partner to make these improvements?
       A: A 360 Energy Engineers representative reached out to district administration while the board was beginning the process of looking at estimated costs for improvements, and the district interviewed two different firms that were interested in partnering with USD 298. The district fulfilled all legal obligations by sending out a Request For Qualifications (RFQ) to several different companies who had the opportunity to respond if interested in partnering with the district. Upon interviewing the two different firms, the board decided that 360 Energy Engineers was the more cost-effective term and had worked with several other small, rural districts like USD 298.

9.   Q:  Has the district considered utility savings improvements such as LED lighting?
      A:  LED lighting was one of the improvement items recommended by the engineering company, but the energy savings of LED lighting did not generate enough savings to have a great payback. This is an improvement the district will consider implementing in the future.

10.  Q:  What were the costs of utilities for the district and are there any energy savings measures being implemented?
       A:  Electric, gas, and water bills totaled about $105,000 for the district last year, between the two buildings being evaluated. While there will be some energy savings from implementing new, efficient HVAC equipment, installing new roofs will not have much of an impact on utilities. Maintenance and operation costs will decrease though, as the district will not have to pay for a roofer to come patch up leaks or buy equipment for district staff to patch the holes themselves.

11.   Q: Was the district shown different options for making these improvements and consider the most cost-effective solution?
USD 298 considered several HVAC systems at Lincoln Elementary School, and budgeted for the most cost-effective solution. The HVAC infrastructure at the Jr./Sr. High School is already in place, and implementing a new HVAC would be much more costly to the district and the taxpayers than replacing the equipment already installed. Several different roofing options were considered, and the most cost effective options will be implemented upon a successful bond vote. Finally, the community storm safe rooms at both locations are being designed as a simple, safe space with the only goal of meeting all FEMA requirements. This ensures the lowest possible cost of construction.

An example HVAC system selection for the Elementary School presented to the board during their planning process is included below:

Financial Notes:

The number in the dark blue section of each bar graph indicate the estimate of the current capital cost- this is the initial cost to the district. The yellow portion of the graph indicates the cost to replace equipment within a 25-year span. The green bar is the cost to maintain equipment- compressors, valves, etc. The light blue portion indicates the total amount to be spent on utilities over a 25-year span. The number above each graph is the sum of all numbers for that system, which is the total cost to operate a system for 25 years.  

12.  Q:  Was the USD 298 bond information presented and approved by Kansas Department of Education?

A:  Yes, the USD 298 bond information was presented at the Capital Improvement Hearing, January 26, 2017, 9:00 am at the Kansas Department of Education, Room 355 with Dale Dennis, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Fiscal and Administrative Services, Craig Craig Neuenswander, Director, School Finance Team, Sally Cauble, State Board of Education Member and John Rundle, Retired USD 337, Royal Valley Superintendent.  

The USD 298 Lincoln application was approved but due to the Block Grant funding, Lincoln will not receive any funding unless the school funding formula would happen to change.

13.  Q:  The Support our Schools yellow lawn signs do not state who paid for that political message.  Who paid (or which entity) for the signs, (please provide receipt/invoice if the district purchased them) and who (or which entity installed and/or distributed them.

A:  Individuals created and purchased signs through Paw Prints, the student owned business out of Lincoln High School.  The District did not create or purchase any signs.