The Manawa School Board voted unanimously to go ahead with the $999,900 project that will update the heating and cool system at Little Wolf Junior/Senior High School.
John Haines, of August, Winter and Sons, addressed the board on this project.
“We are pleased to provide you with your HVAC proposal,” said Haines. “Overall the current HVAC energy consumption of the old system verses the new system is difficult to analyze due to the fact that the old system is not functioning properly.”
According to Haines, this will be an all encompassing project, and once it gets underway, should be completed in its entirety three weeks prior to school starting in September 2014.
Paul Sturm, chair of the Finance Committee, addressed the cost of this up-grade.
“We have a fund balance that will pay for a majority of this project,” said Sturm. “We moved to partial self funded health insurance system and looked carefully at our budget over the last four years. Three of the four years there was a surplus that we put into a capital account. We were accumulating this money because we knew that we would have to do something with the HVAC system.”
“For the energy efficient parts of it, such as the heat recovery system and new energy efficient computers, we will utilize an Energy Efficiency Levy,” said Sturm. “This is a one-year levy. In order to qualify for it we have to hire a performance contractor, who will guarantee in writing that we will achieve these efficiency gains they have documented. If we fall short, they will actually cut us a check for the difference. Those two pieces together will pay for the overall upgrade.”
“There was a question about whether or not we could afford air conditioning,” he said. “We wanted to do this as we feel it will support student learning when it gets hot in May, June and September. We looked at where we were and what we could do with the energy efficiency levy and we found that the money was available to do this as well.”
“Air conditioning added significant cost,” said Board President Kurt Kreklow. “We felt it was well worth the cost.”
District Administrator Ed Dombrowski indicated that the electrical part of this project would be separate and that he is currently researching costs associated with that.
During the Policy and Personnel Committee meeting, Connie Abert, UW-Extension, discussed the long-range planning of the district.
“Strategic planning will help the district think about its future,” said Abert. “We look at what are the big things that you should be concentrating on. We look at the strengths and opportunities and we want to take advantage them.”
“It’s so important to engage your community in this process,” she said. “After you decide what the major questions facing the district are, these people will also help when you go to carry things out. The community will take some ownership in this. It’s a great way to keep everyone on track.”
“I think this is a great idea,” Dombrowski said. “I would recommend that we move forward with this.”
“I think this is a great thing that will help our district grow,” said Lori Miller.
“I think the UW Extension office is a great resource that we need to take advantage of,” said Manawa Mayor John Smith. “This involves more than the administration, this involves the community as well.”
Targeted groups would include city representatives, community partners, Lions, members of the faith community, parents and local businesses.
“Who are the people you call when you want to get something in Manawa?” said Abert. “You want those same people to help you with this as well.”
John Smith addressed the committee about staff morale.
“We have a bunch of teachers with resumes ready to go out,” said Smith. “They are not happy and the only way it is going to stop, is if someone addresses it.”
“You have to make people want to teach here, want to educate our children,” he said. “Right now we have educators who have children who don’t go to our school.”
“You need to get to know our teachers and show an interest in what they do,” said Smith. “You need to be a leader, but more importantly a good listener.”
“Our educators are the experts at teaching,” said Smith. “The administration is not. Let the teachers, teach.”
“If you want to fix morale, start believing in your employees,” said Smith. “Manawa should be the first place teachers want to teach and the last place they ever want to leave.”
“Give the educators the tools to do their job,” he said.