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Mitigation projects brings unexpected cost to UMS construction

July 19, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

The demolition at Union Middle School for their HVAC and lighting renovation project revealed mold issues in the central classroom section which needed to be addressed, adding an additional $68,800 to the project.

"As part of the construction at Union Middle School, we happen to notice some questionable spots we wanted to have tested for a possible mold issue," Travis Fleshner, Superintendent of Union CSD said. "The test came back we needed to mitigate the issue. It's an older building and the problem wasn't out in the open until we started demolition."

According to Fleshner, the issue may stem from an air handler in the school not functioning properly. In order to address the issue, a mitigation project was added to the overall cost of the construction at $68,800 to be performed by EcoMidwest of Cedar Rapids. This process will clean and seal trouble areas. The renovation itself will replace the air handler.

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Contingency funds will be used to cover the cost of this mitigation project and have no affect the timetable of the overall construction project, which is scheduled to be completed in time for the school to be ready in time for their August 23 start date. Funding is through voted PPEL and a small portion through SAVE.

"The primary function with this voted PPEL was to renovate the HVAC system in those spaces," Fleshner said. "The staff and students will really recognize the updates. Everything is still on track and rooftop units were set in last week. I feel good about where everything is at."

The bid from EcoMidwest was approved by the Union Board of Education during their regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 15. The board also approved a set of legislative priorities they hope to see addressed in the 2020 Iowa Legislative Session at the Capital beginning in January.

"Our priorities are pretty consistent across the state," Fleshner said. "Supplemental State Aid is hard not to put first because that is the funding stream. From a board perspective and my own perspective, you need money to run the school. Mental health is becoming more prevalent across the state and our district. There's no single answer to this issue, but we do know we need resources. Now that the district is operating a preschool in La Porte, we need to fund those programs. The state sends .5 FTE for each preschool student, but it would be nice to see more for that."

The next board meeting will be held on August 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the District Office. A motion was made and approved to push the organizational meeting of the board to the November meeting, after school board elections take place.



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