, 2014

Planning commission begins compiling
wish list of capital projects

by Audrey Thomasson

LANCASTER—The safety and welfare of the county’s 1,300 public school children is the highest priority on the Lancaster school board’s request for next year’s capital improvement plan (CIP).

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School officials are seeking $507,500 for improvements during the 2013-14 fiscal year, including $127,500 to improve access and security at the county’s three schools.

During last week’s first-round CIP budget session, the Lancaster planning commission also received requests of $89,000 from Emergency Management Services and $57,000 from the sheriff’s department.

School requests

According to school operations director John Mann, $40,500 is proposed for projects at the primary school. Included are additional security doors as a barrier to entry and requiring visitors to be buzzed in through the main office. Also, entry doors would be switched from keyed locks to wireless card readers, establishing a computer record of those accessing the school. Mann wants to install a gate at the bus loop entrance to prevent vehicle traffic from accessing the back of the school at unauthorized times.

Some $47,000 is required to improve safety at the middle school, including 10 more surveillance system cameras to cover the parking lot and areas of recess access, a remote visitor access system with camera/recorder, wireless card reader entry systems and additional secured doors at the entrance to the fourth-grade hall.

Security measures proposed for the high school would cost $40,000. The school board proposes upgrades to the video surveillance system, switching to a wireless card reader entry system and a remote visitor access system which would take a picture of visitors holding up photo identification prior to front office personnel allowing access.

Mann also addressed replacing the high school gym floor which he said is original to the 1973 building and had recent damage from a water leak. He estimated the total replacement cost at $270,000.

“Insurance will fund the cost to replace half the floor. We’re asking the county to pick up the other half at $135,000,” said Mann. Without a county match, Mann said the new floor would have to be sanded down to match the thickness of the old boards which have been sanded four times over the years. “Sanding would shorten the expected life of the floor,” he said.

Additional needs at the schools included $165,000 for a new phone and communications system and $80,000 to replace heating, ventilation and air conditioning units in the middle school.

EMS requests

County Emergency Management Services chief Christina Hubbard requested a total of $89,000 in CIP funds. First on the list is $29,000 to purchase two cardiac monitors.

“This will provide the opportunity for both volunteer and career use,” said Hubbard. “These new monitors are replacing older models that are not capable of providing the required monitoring features needed...One of the monitors will be used at the Upper Lancaster Volunteer Rescue Squad in support of their operations. The other will be used on ALS-1 (the county’s advanced life support) quick response vehicle.”

Hubbard said the full price for the monitors is $60,000, but half will be paid through grants.

She requested $60,000 to replace a 2003 Ford Explorer with 133,000 miles because the engine stops while the vehicle is running down the road. The county’s professional squad needs a “back-up” advanced life support vehicle when ALS-1 needs repairs.

“Can’t you arrange with the volunteer squads to use their vehicles?” asked supervisor Butch Jenkins, liaison to the planning commission. Jenkins asked her to talk to the volunteer squads and give them a chance to respond.

Sheriff’s request

Sheriff’s investigator Ronald Hudson requested $57,000 to purchase a refurbished van to replace the unit’s 1998 Chevrolet van.

Hudson said the current van is too small to handle special packaging needed to safely handle evidence collected from methamphetamine labs.

The vehicle they want to acquire is a larger vehicle with a limited warranty, he said. The price includes the purchase and installation of radios.

Planners will begin prioritizing CIP requests next month before forwarding recommendations to the board of supervisors.

Supervisors did not approve any CIP funding for the current fiscal year because there were no funds, according to county administrator Frank Pleva.

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