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Prairie Heights approves renovation projects

The Prairie Heights School Board approved $2 million in renovations and improvements for the high school.

The work is planned for 2014 and includes heating and cooling updates at the high school. The project will include building controls and replacement of ventilators. The heating cooling work is expected to cost $650,000.

Piping installation work would begin before the end of the current school year, with work to be completed prior to the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Roofing work will also be tackled this year, which will replace existing loose laid, ballasted membrane roofing with new insulation and roofing material. The request for bids will be for several sections of the high school roof, with an estimated cost of $700,000. There will also be alternate bids for the remainder of the roof area, with an estimated cost of $709,000, for a total estimated cost of $1,399,000.

Work on tearing off the old roofs will start at the end of the current school year, with installation complete prior to the start of next school year. Detail and trim work would continue after the start of school.

The district will take out a $2 million general obligation bond, and will pay off the bonds in two years, the board was told. This will result in no increase in debt service payment by the district and will have zero impact on the tax rate.

The board was told that the district could then look at other issues after these bonds are repaid.

During the public hearing on the project, the board was told that the district has one of the lowest overall tax rates of any district in Northeast Indiana at 0.5284. Only Fremont is lower at 0.4259.