A sinking-fund millage request approved by Nottawa Community School voters in 2017 is helping finance a major overhaul in the K-8 building.
Superintendent Jerome Wolff said money from four different sources is covering the summer-long work.
“There’s money from the school district, then we have sinking-fund millage money, there’s the American Rescue Plan Act funds and, finally, there’s money from a (state-funded) safety grant that we secured in 2019,” Wolff said. “In all, it’s about $930,000 worth of construction.”
Wolff said improvements include school-wide ventilation, heating and air conditioning, and the installation of LED lighting.
He said the district’s ventilation system has not been upgraded since the 1960s. The 2022 upgrade, he said, is light years ahead of the previous system.
“Merv 16 Filtration, bipolar ionization … if there’s COVID, the flu or a cold floating airborne anywhere in a classroom, 99.9 percent of it will be gone in 30 minutes, every classroom,” he said. “We’re not air conditioning the whole building, but we’re getting it in every classroom and that will cool off the whole building.”
Also, industrial fans will be installed in the gymnasium to push heat down in colder weather.
Wolff said the district’s plan to re-roof the building was derailed due to unforeseen circumstances.
“Our original estimate before all the price escalation was $225,000 and that went up to over $450,000 overnight,” he said. “That was stunning.”
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The roof project remains in a holding pattern, he said.
In addition, all classroom doors have been upgraded to meet fire code and security standards. Furthermore, a new security system is installed at the school entrance. Wolff said the school is also being fitted with a PA system that has a video component to benefit students who are hearing impaired.
Wolff said the district was able to get all the work done at once thanks to the foresight of its board of education.
“The board did tons of advance planning, it was really involved in getting schematics for the building approved by the state well ahead of the work, so that allowed us to get work done in time before the start of school,” Wolff said. “Teachers, staff members, maintenance people, the board, everybody had ideas and brought them forward. When you get great ideas then you just start picking what fits together and this is the result.”
He also acknowledged the role parent volunteers played. Wolff said a team of helpers had all nine classrooms emptied within two hours of the last day of school back in June.
“We have hard-working parents here and they’re not afraid to step up and pitch in,” he said. “Nottawa School is all about community and that was proven when we needed the help back in June, it’s proven on a daily basis, actually.”
Wolf said the district expects at least 155 students this fall.