News from the Dr. Pam Ewell, Van Buren Community School District Superintendent
Construction and Remodeling project – Van Buren Community School District High School and Middle School - Update
With plans to use the SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education – statewide sales tax) and PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) funds, as well as the voter approved PPEL and Revenue Purpose Statement from Sept. of 2013; the Board and district are moving forward to use available funds to complete Phase 1 of the Master plan and remodel/improve the Keosauqua high school & middle school building. Our construction remodel project is full steam ahead and we are very excited about the changes that will take place for our students of today and the future! I will place photos and renderings of our remodel and construction project as the project begins.
The renderings shown below were developed last year and some of the hopeful changes were reduced due to the bids coming in over budget. The projec was re-bid the summer of 2016 and after months/years of planning and designing, we are about ready to begin!
- Crews will arrive mid-December! Some will locate here in town and others where they could find room and board. I expect we will see 100+ additional people in our community during the 9-10 months of the project! Please help them to feel welcome and we look forward to what everyone can offer in our community to make this a successful experience. If you have any ideas, please let us know.
- December 9th - We will host a public forum on Dec. 9th at 6:00 p.m. in the High School to showcase the upcoming construction project, answer questions, and review the construction process. Please plan to attend! We will communicate the location of the forum once we have that determined (library or gymnasium).
- December 23rd – the construction crews begin working in the building.
- Asbestos abatement in specific areas of the building will also take place over winter break. The abatement construction lead will be here on Dec. 9th if you have questions and we can also respond to any of your questions at the District office.
- Asbestos abatement process is very specific and requires detailed steps as per OSHA. The areas abated will be contained, secure, and the crews hired to do this work are licensed as such.
- All 3 levels of the High School will experience renovation. The crews will contain the entire south end of the building (all 3 levels) from Jan. – June 1. Temporary hallways will be set up on the 1st level for students to travel through the building and for community members to attend activities. We will use the south doors (near band room) and the doors into the gymnasium as our main entrances for events. Students will enter and exit using the far north doors, doors directly into the gym, or the south doors near the band room. The main doors near the gym will be closed off during construction as well as the main doors / stairs to the high school office.
- Breakfast and lunch will be in the gym! We are going to have a lot of fun changing things up!
- The north end of the building will be under construction during the summer of 2016 with the anticipated completion at the end of August.
- Dec. 23 – Jan. 4 – the High School/Middle School will be closed to all activities, events, etc…
- January 4, 2016 - Classes begin again. Mr. Banks and the staff are working on detailed plans for where classes will be assigned. We are going to be very creative and remain flexible and I really do believe the students will enjoy some of the changes and have fun with all of it.
- A few of our classes / teachers will be off campus for 2nd semester. We plan to shuttle some of our classes to the Indian Hills Center classrooms and possibly to one of the newly remodeled north rooms at the Keosauqua Health Care Center. A very special “thank you” to both of these agencies for the opportunity for our students to attend class at a different location during our construction project. While we certainly realize that moving a few of our classes off campus can be a disruption; we plan to make this a real-life learning experience and do everything that we can to make it as smooth as possible. We ask that you support us in this endeavor and if you have real-world examples that you can share with our students, please do so!
**can change as project necessitates
Building improvements, separate funds, General Fund vs. Capital Improvement Funds…..and how it all works
A few months ago, I sent out a survey asking parents and staff to provide input about priorities as we need to bring our annual expenditures in line with revenues. Thank you to everyone who participated. We are using this feedback to develop our district priorities through the “right-sizing” budget process.
One of the comments that came across in the survey responses was in reference of using funds to improve buildings and grounds. To better explain how school funds work…….the revenue funds (called Capital Funds) that schools receive from sales taxes and levies for improving buildings and grounds is separate from the funds used for paying salaries, teachers, staff, materials, and operations (called the General Fund). The state codes and requirements do not allow us to use the funds for buildings and grounds to pay salaries and staff or operations of the schools. While this might seem confusing, it might help to think of school revenues and the separate funds similar to a checking account that you might possess and is only used to pay your monthly family expenses AND another separate mortgage account that is used to pay your mortgage, insurance, and taxes. While you might be able to move money back and forth between your own accounts, schools are not allowed to.