Shelby County Schools plans to spend a record amount on construction and renovation in 2019Posted on: November 1, 2018, by : Anik Paul
Shelby County Schools plans to spend a record-setting amount on construction and maintenance projects in 2019.
SCS has 50 projects scheduled for next year after being awarded $90.2 million in capital funding by the Shelby County Commission.
“This recent award has allowed us to build new schools and increase our capacity, especially in schools with increased allotment,” said Natalia Powers, chief of communications for SCS.
“Since we have been addressing our deferred maintenance needs more consistently over the last few years, we have now reached a point in which we can create better learning environments for our students by improving classrooms and building more gyms in many of our schools,” Powers said.
Those deferred maintenance needs mounted to more than $500 million, according to Powers, who said budget constraints meant they could not be addressed.
Future SCS projects include 38 maintenance repairs, classroom and gym additions at 10 schools and construction for two “21st-century” school constructions — Goodlett Elementary and Alcy Elementary — which are expected to be completed by 2019 and 2020, respectively.
The new Goodlett Elementary will add students from Knight Road Elementary, while the renovated Alcy Elementary will add students from Magnolia Elementary and Charjean Elementary.
Kirby High School, which was recently closed due to a rodent infestation, will also receive future improvements. SCS plans to add new interior and exterior paint, ceiling tiles, lighting and a greenhouse, which Powers said has become a priority for other area schools following the pest issues at Kirby High.
“Last month our facilities and maintenance team began inspecting all buildings, prioritizing schools with greenhouses and exterior gardens,” Powers said. “We also focused on tree trimming and maintenance of shrubs and beds to better monitor animal activity on our campuses.”
She added that SCS is finalizing the solicitation processes to allow their internal pest control team to work with local vendors in preparation for the winter season. Those vendors will aid with pest management and prevention.
The $90.2 million will exceed the previous record of $72.4 million SCS spent in 2017, when they completed more than 70 projects, including cafeteria and gym renovations, classroom additions, roofing maintenance, HVAC upgrades and an elevator replacement.
SCS uses a Facility Condition Index assessment to rate all buildings and calculate the cost for future maintenance and construction projects. Powers said project priority is decided by the FCI score, type of project, funding awarded and safety factors.
“Our facilities and maintenance team evaluates the type of projects and always pushes safety systems to the top of the list,” she said. “In essence, if two buildings have a similar FCI but one needs an HVAC system and the other one a parking lot, we would prioritize the HVAC system. If a building needs a new fire alarm system, that project will take priority over any others.”