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Life Safety Construction Projects Move Forward
U304 Communications
Friday, July 12, 2019

The summer of 2019 has seen a large amount of construction projects in progress throughout the United School District.   Those projects include: Replacement of the bus ramp concrete at United High School, replacement of the original roof on the original gym at United High School, replacement of all of the heating and cooling systems at United Junior High and United West Elementary, and the completion of a bus barn on the south edge of the high school campus.  This is an inordinate number of projects to complete in one summer. However, the construction continues to progress on time.  

In 2017, the district was mandated to complete a survey of all district buildings to determine code and safety violations - a process known as a 10 year Life Safety survey.  This survey is completed by a licensed architect. The architect uses their expertise to develop a list of work items that need to be completed in order to keep the district in compliance with state regulations.  That survey indicated that the district had an estimated $6.5 million worth of projects to complete. The work is categorized in 3 categories; immediate (completed immediately), within 5 years, or non-emergent (completed prior to the next survey).  

The largest item on the entire survey was the replacement of the original heating, ventilation, and cooling systems in the west campus buildings.  It is a little known fact that by code, a school has to refresh the air inside of its walls at a specific rate in order to provide the safest and healthiest environment for students.  It was determined that the nearly 40 and 50 year old systems in those buildings could no longer keep up with the demands of that refresh pace and the only fix would be replacement. Hence, the decision to replace both systems and while at it - include a cooling system as well.  Following the bid process, the district awarded bids to two different contractors to install virtually identical systems, and fortunately under the estimated price from the architect.  

The bus ramp at UHS had deteriorated, particularly on the west end a great deal.  Removal and replacement of all the concrete underneath the overhang is complete at this time.  The two north facing courtyards still need to be graded toward the existing storm drains located in each to keep rain and snow from running to the ramp and puddling on it, expediting the ruin of the face of the concrete.  Again, this bid was accepted under the estimate of the architect.  

The “old” gym roof at UHS was beginning to show signs of leakage and eventually, the rubber ply roof that existed finally gave way in one corner and this spring was blowing in the wind like a flag on a pole.  Dowers roofing from Galesburg submitted the lowest bid and was awarded that bid - also under estimate. There work on the gym roof is complete and they are now working on a similar replacement of the wood shop roof.  Expected end date on that project is July 19.  

Future life safety projects include: upgrades to intercom and phone systems, updates to the locksets in classroom doors, additional roof repairs, tuckpointing, and the addition of some ventilation projects at UHS.  Maintaining four buildings, keeping them “state of the art” and making sure that they are up to code takes a great deal of effort and time. United is blessed to have some great maintenance and custodial partners which keep our buildings in outstanding shape.  As with any facility, money is necessary to maintain a high standard of cleanliness, safety, and aesthetics. Stop in and see some or all of these outstanding upgrades after their completion, we’d love to show them off.