CEDAR FALLS — With three elementary construction projects well underway, furnishing the buildings is the next area of focus for Cedar Falls Community Schools.

The Board of Education Monday approved plans and specifications on furniture for the new Bess Streeter Aldrich Elementary as well as for renovation and expansion projects at Orchard Hill and North Cedar elementary schools. A public hearing on the purchases was also set for a March 7 special meeting, when bids are expected to be awarded.

All furnishings will be new at Aldrich while more limited purchases are planned for North Cedar and Orchard Hill, according to Struxture Architects’ interior designer Andrea Kucera. The Waterloo company developed the furniture specifications. Various desks, tables, chairs, shelving and lounge furniture was tested by students and staff at the schools.

Costs are estimated at $606,000 for Aldrich, $341,000 for Orchard Hill and $232,000 for North Cedar. Total cost is estimated at $1.18 million for the three schools.

Superintendent Andy Pattee said the purchases will be paid for out of physical plant and equipment levy dollars along with “our building level funds” in situations where schools want furniture upgrades. Construction costs for the building projects are otherwise being funded through a voter-approved bond issue and 1 percent sales tax revenues.

Aldrich’s construction contract of $20.71 million “is higher than what we anticipated two years ago,” he noted, when plans were being made. Building contracts exceeded estimates and the board later decided to approve an alternate increasing the school’s size and expense. Buildings contracts are $10.31 million for Orchard Hill and $8.9 million for North Cedar.

“We knew we’d have to go to PPEL for some of those costs,” said Pattee. “We built our PPEL plan around that.” Using that revenue stream for furniture also “helps the cash flow” by providing greater flexibility with the sales tax funds.

Once furniture bids are approved, technology purchases such as wall mount projectors and TV screens at the three schools will be the final contracts to come before the board. Those will also be paid for with PPEL funds.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved plans and specifications to upgrade a water main at Hansen Elementary School, which has an estimated cost of $130,000 to $150,000. A public hearing is set for Feb. 26. Work on the project is expected to occur this summer after the board approves a bid.
  • Set a Feb. 26 public hearing on the district’s 2018-19 calendar. Classes would start Aug. 23 and the last day of school would be May 29, 2019.
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Waterloo Schools / HCC Reporter

Education reporter for the Courier

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