C-I bond referendum to support most critical components of buildings, facilities

Dr. Ray Queener, Superintendent
Cambridge-Isanti Schools

Independent School District 911 has the privilege of informing our communities of the Nov. 5 bond referendum. We continue to invite you to learn more about the bond referendum, and what it means for our schools and our students, by visiting the district website at http://www.cambridge.k12.mn.us/~bondreferendum/. 

Like our homes need maintenance and our automobiles need repairs, so do our buildings and facilities. The bond referendum will help to fund the most critical components of our buildings and facilities.

Dr. Ray Queener
Dr. Ray Queener

The District continues to use its Long Range Capital Plan to make facility-related decisions as it has for several years. I.S.D. 911 was the first in the state to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy usage and we continue to make responsible, cost-efficient investments into our buildings and facilities that will conserve energy, lower operating costs, and proactively maintain our assets while protecting them from costly degradation.

Replacing original boiler systems that have extended their useful life at Isanti Primary, Cambridge Primary, and Cambridge Intermediate Schools with high-efficiency hot water boilers will enable the use of hot water panel heating that will help to address comfort issues for students and staff. The aged boilers have required considerable repairs from tube failure and leaks that have involved the replacement of condensate pumps, steam traps, and boiler burner controls. Currently, the aged boilers are running at 80 percent efficiency — 20 percent of the energy is being wasted — the replacement boilers will run at 93 percent or better efficiency allowing us to save money and invest in heating technology that will serve for the next 30 years.

Isanti Middle School/Minnesota Center is the final building in the district to need an indoor air quality upgrade. The original 1976 ventilation systems are no longer capable of meeting today’s ventilation requirements. New air handling equipment, ductwork, and automated temperature controls will be installed. This upgrade will also include the replacement of two original steam boilers and an aged central chiller plant. The boilers, chiller plant, and thermal storage technology cannot be funded under the alternative facilities bond. The building also needs repair or replacement of several sunken windows that continually leak. It is proposed to elevate the windows and install standing seam metal panels that will help to prevent moisture intrusion into the school that causes indoor air quality issues.

The removal of underground storage tanks at Isanti Middle School/Minnesota Center and Cambridge Intermediate School will enable the use of an alternate fuel source that is compatible with the new hot water boilers proposed to increase efficiency and decrease the costs of heating our schools.

Using the five-year roofing plan for our buildings, replacements are needed at Cambridge Intermediate School, Cambridge-Isanti High School, and the Education Center. These sections of roofs have reached or exceeded their useful life and will be replaced with high-performance roofs — increasing the R-value from 15 to 22 — that will increase heat retention and improve energy efficiency. Roof replacements should last for 30 years before needing replacement. Due to a lack of funding, the District has not been able to keep pace with roofing replacement needs. Therefore, funds from the bond referendum will be used to proactively replace roofs at the correct time to help effectively provide quality indoor environments for students, staffs, and community users of our buildings.

Renovation of the original 1976 restrooms at the main entrance of Cambridge-Isanti High School to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility needs is also a proposal of the bond referendum. These restrooms are frequently used and greatly need the replacement of plumbing, fixtures, floorings, and ceilings to bring the restrooms to standard.

In 2001, Minnesota  health and safety funding was made available to districts to address safety railings and entrapments, and the smaller visitor bleacher sections of George Larson Stadium were designed and installed  to include integrated ADA accessible seating. This opportunity did not allow integrated seating to be incorporated in home seating. The current home bleachers do not accommodate integrated seating that meets ADA accessibility needs, and it is not possible to modify the existing structure to accommodate these needs. Therefore, a new section of bleachers will replace the wooden viewing platform and detached set of bleachers with integrated seating that meets the needs of those with disabilities who support our student programs and activities.

The original, wooden 1970s press box at the stadium will be replaced with modifications to the main grandstand framing structure that will house a modular press box that will meet future needs and help to meet current safety needs. With heightened requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health on concession stands, the current concession stand will be replaced at George Larson Stadium to meet public health standards that the current structure does not provide — shielded/coated interior lights, floors/walls/ceilings of smooth, easily cleaned material, and a sanitation station with running hot water between 70 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

In 2010 the first phase of the bus parking compound project was started; this brought buses previously housed in Isanti to the main bus garage in Cambridge to provide for improved support of transportation employees to meet Department of Transportation regulations. The second phase was completed in 2011 to provide curb, gutter, and paving for the employee parking lot and bus compound west of the building. Phase three is included in the bond referendum to provide expansion to the office space, driver facilities, restrooms, and maintenance bays that service over 100 transportation vehicles and 120 employees. The transportation building was built in 1980 with a third of the vehicles and drivers, and expansion of the building is needed to house growth. The building also is limited to two, one-stall restrooms to accommodate all employees. Additionally, the current office space is congested providing challenges for staff to facilitate over 80 bus routes that transport 5,200 students daily.

The District will continue to implement strategies to increase energy efficiency and reduce the operating costs of our buildings. Modifying our facilities to bring them to standard will help to accommodate all who are valued supporters of our students, and our schools. Your voice is valuable; use it when you vote on Nov. 5.

You can access physical plans for these proposals and a list of projects by location on the District’s website. You can also keep informed of referendum initiatives by following @Queener1 on Twitter or by calling the Superintendent’s Office at 763-689-6188.