The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, June 30, 2021 1:00 am

Virus aid spent on schools' clean air

FWCS using funds for $819,275 project

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Efforts to improve air quality at Fort Wayne Community Schools are underway – with help from federal coronavirus relief dollars.

The school board on Monday approved spending $819,275 on projects at two elementary schools and school clinics.

The $190,000 contract with Siemens Industry Inc. will bring advanced plasma air purification units to each school clinic's heating, ventilation and air conditioning units by Oct. 31.

The upgrade will be supported by the second round of federal coronavirus relief funding. FWCS' allocation is about $42 million.

That allocation and the $100.8 million earmarked for FWCS in the third funding round will also support architectural renovations to provide enclosed classrooms at Arlington and Lincoln elementary schools.

“Even with all the partitions closed, they're still open,” facilities director Darren Hess said. “There's not a physical way at this point to close off the classrooms.”

Teachers use shelving and other methods to create walls, board member Steve Corona said, noting he has seen such solutions during visits to read to students.

Renovation plans include exterior window replacements, mechanical upgrades and associated electrical upgrades “as needed to support these improvements with a focus on improving indoor air quality,” according to information provided to the board.

The board approved a $589,375 design services contract with Garmann Miller and a $39,900 pre-construction services contract with Michael Kinder & Sons.

The overall construction budget is $10.25 million.

Work likely will start next spring, continue through the summer and will move to the evenings during the 2022-23 academic year, Hess said.

Both schools were built in 1975 – a fact Corona noted later in the meeting.

“I was not on this board,” said Corona, who has served since 1981 and is the longest-serving member. “So don't blame us for those open classrooms.”

Also Monday, the board approved a $271,400 design contract fee with Primary Engineering Inc. for heating, ventilation and air conditioning improvements at the Bill C. Anthis Center and Anthis Automotive – other projects supported by federal coronavirus relief dollars. The estimated construction budget is $4.6 million.

The 2016 referendum is funding stadium waterproofing at North Side and South Side high schools. The board approved a $49,000 design contract fee with MartinRiley architects-engineers. The estimated construction budget is $592,000.

Finally, the board endorsed a $914,287.90 contract with Direct Fitness Solutions to replace strength and conditioning equipment at the district's five high schools. Work is expected to be completed by July 29, 2022, and will be paid for by the district's operations fund and the 2016 referendum.

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