School’s lighting retrofit, restroom project hit snags

There is plenty of room for the proposed solar arrays at the high school — the only question is where to put them. Here are two options.

By Per Peterson

Tracy Area High School Supt. Chad Anderson updated the District 2904 School Board on a number of construction-related items at Monday’s meeting, including an adjusted timeline and date of completion for the high school-wide lighting project and a higher-than-projected price tag for the women’s restroom.
Anderson told the board the restroom project going on in the women’s restroom nearest to the gymnasium will cost more than originally planned.
The project was taken on because of odors coming from the restroom, and Anderson said it wasn’t until the project really got going that the school was able to identify where the smell was coming from — cracks and holes in the cast-iron pipes in the walls and under the floor.
“We had to rip up the entire floor and take out the pipes,” he said. “As we dug into it, we found more problems; with that, there are more expenses, so the bill was higher. We knew it was an experimental project because we didn’t know what we were getting into — that’s why we just did one bathroom.”
Other added expenses are flooring and the wall tile. For the flooring, the school had planned on installing a simple cement floor, but shied away from that for aesthetic reasons. The school was also given the option of going with a more durable tile that could better hold up to heavier “traffic.” With a more expensive product, Anderson said, comes a more expensive installation process.
The cost of doing the one restroom could hit the $92,000 mark.
“We have a couple options — do we plow forward, finish this bathroom as is, learn from this one and decide what we want to do in the future, or do we pull back, tell the building and grounds committee we want to reevaluate and look at less costly solutions — whether it’s back to the cement floor, or back to the less-expensive wall coverings?” Anderson said.
The restroom project is being paid for with Long Term Facilities Maintenance dollars from the state — LTFM dollars are used for school renovations. Spending more of those monies now would mean the school would have less LTFM money next year.
The board approved the added expenses to complete the project.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.