Firm lists repairs needed in Urbana schools

Firm lists repairs needed in Urbana schools

URBANA — A consulting firm for the Urbana school district has identified $541,300 of life safety improvements to school facilities that will need to be completed within the next year or so.

A team of architects and engineers from IGW Architects, a district consulting firm, recently completed a thorough study of the Urbana school district's buildings for possible safety violations as part of a life safety survey which all districts must complete every 10 years. The last study was completed in 2004.

As the consultants inspected each building, they measured them against certain codes that public schools are required to follow.

Once the school district officially submits the report to the state later this year, Urbana schools will have one year to complete more than $500,000 of projects at four schools that the consultants deemed as "urgent."

"Those that are deemed urgent are required by the district to fix within a year," said Riley Glerum of IGW Architects.

Glerum said the consultants identified "urgent" life safety work at four schools, including:

— Urbana High School ($456,900)

Urgent work identified at the high school includes some exterior masonry improvements; HVAC work for the kitchen, serving area and walk-in freezer; and electrical work (including additional power for computers, the food lab and welding).

— Urbana Middle School ($80,700)

Urgent work identified at the middle school includes HVAC replacement work, repair work to doors and plumbing.

— Leal Elementary School ($500)

A fire alarm pull station located behind a door needs to be moved to another location.

"Right now you need to close the door to pull the fire alarm," said Director of Facilities Ota Dossett.

— Wiley Elementary School ($3,200)

The study indicated that the sinks in a bathroom have faucets that are obsolete.

"When I first got on the board, this list was a lot longer," said Urbana school board President John Dimit. "Although there are some things on this list that absolutely need to be done, our schools overall are in very good shape, much better than 10, 20 or 30 years ago. I remember when there were millions of dollars of work on the list."

The board will spend the coming months reviewing the report and will eventually vote on approving it. Then IGW Architects will electronically submit the report to the state. The report will also be sent to the Regional Superintendent of Education.

When the state receives the report, "the clock will begin ticking" for the district to make the "urgent" improvements within one year, according to Dossett.

"We are really not looking at sending this in until August or September," Dossett said.

IGW's study also found more than $3.8 million of life safety improvements that have been classified as "required" but not urgent, much of which is roof work.

The district has five years to complete those projects.

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