District Exploring Capital Project Improvements

Board members and administrators met recently with representatives from the architectural and engineering firm CSArch to discuss a potential capital project in the Johnstown School District.

While the district’s buildings are structurally sound and have been well cared for, each building needs routine maintenance, similar to the maintenance that residents’ homes would regularly require. When these repairs are included as part of a capital project, they are eligible for state aid and any remaining local costs are spread over 15 to 20 years. Without a capital project, repairs may still need to be made, but would have to be funded out of the budget, with no state aid for the work.

Many of the items currently under consideration for improvement are related to health and safety, including building and classroom door security, roof replacement, electrical upgrades, bathrooms/fixtures, drop-off and pick-up configurations at buildings, HVAC and lighting. Additional areas under review include the JHS pool, JHS gymnasium, cafeteria/gym spaces, the track, and education spaces including music suites and art rooms.

Some concern has been expressed about the state of the JHS pool, where operating systems such as the air handler and pump/filter have been subjected to nearly forty years of chemical exposure. Over this extended period of time, the corrosive nature of chlorine has taken a toll on the expected life of not only the pool equipment, but also the locker room areas. An idea to repurpose the pool area as a new gymnasium has come up in discussion, but no decision has been made on how to proceed. Whether the district ultimately moves to upgrade/rehab the pool, or close it and repurpose the space, will depend in part on cost estimates.

While there is a goal for a November 2014 referendum, Johnstown’s capital project process is currently still in preliminary stages. The board and administration will be taking careful consideration of many possibilities over the next several months, and frequent updates will be provided.

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