The charter high school will pull up to $300,000 from its own $1.7 million contingency reserve fund, said board president David Garland. The school is scheduled to receive some repairs as part of the Orleans Parish School Board’s master plan, but the timeline of those projects is unclear.
In the throes of a construction project more than two years behind schedule, Garland felt the school couldn’t depend on district repairs.
“These are things that need to be done,” said Garland.
Garland specifically cited the leaking roof and exterior.
He said the board usually spends about $200,000 on summer repairs. But with damaging water leaks that can’t wait, the board voted to spend up to $300,000 on repairs this summer.
“My confidence in the last three years has slowly abated,” said Garland.
Over those years, the school has endured a window repair project that is still not complete due to the contractor defaulting, officials have said. During the project contractors also caused extensive damage in the courtyard, officials say.
Facilities consultant Ken Ducote said he has expressed Warren Easton officials’ concerns to OPSB. The school’s stabilization project wouldn’t start for a few months. The 30-day bidding process will begin in April. After the contract is awarded, Ducote said it would likely be at least another month before construction would begin.
Seeing as construction would likely not begin until August, Garland stressed the need to act swiftly.
Garland said the school’s brick exterior needs a facelift. The 100-year-old building is leaking and, while the waterproofing is supposed to be done in the stabilization project, it is causing problems elsewhere in the school.
Installing new mortar and sealing all masonry work on the fourth floor of the school will cost about $100,000. Waterproofing the leaking band classroom will cost an additional $13,000.
Ducote added that the school’s content insurance company would likely not replace water damaged items from Hurricane Isaac if the school still had not repaired leaks. The leaking has even compromised some of the school’s security cameras.
The gym ceiling is peeling, lighting is insufficient and the floors need to be refinished. The gym’s heating system needs to be repaired as well. Those repairs will cost about $96,000, Garland estimated.
After the Sandy Hook tragedy in December, Garland said school officials reviewed safety measures. They found a few security cameras were not working properly, some due to water damage from the leaking roof. Garland also said tests revealed “cold-spots” in the building, or a place someone could enter and not be seen by surveillance cameras. Garland said camera upgrades will cost about $60,000.
The school will also replace all chain link fencing with a steel fence to increase security, which will cost about $9,000.
“Our intent is to solve a problem that is imminent,” said Garland.
(Live coverage of the meeting began at 6 p.m. Wednesday, this article was published at 11:11 p.m.)
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