First day of school 2013: Top changes at Ann Arbor Public Schools
About $7 million worth of repair and upgrade work to Ann Arbor Public Schools buildings and properties have been completed while students were out of the classroom for summer break.
At the start of classes Tuesday, there will be a number of changes students will see in their respective buildings besides different principals and teachers.
Tim Gruszczynski said his staff first evaluates which projects are critical to maintaining the infrastructure of the school buildings when deciding summer projects.
“We put forward the projects that we feel are critical from a facility management standpoint,” Gruszczynski said.
After getting estimates for the vital projects, Gruszczynski said the remaining funds in the district’s budget for repair projects are matched to the needs from individual school buildings.
The vast majority of the projects have been completed with the district's sinking fund millage. The 1 mill property tax raised about $7.3 million for this year's projects. As the millage expires in 2014, the district is seeking a continuation of the millage on the November ballot.
Gruszczynski said estimates were available for some of the projects completed this year, though others had not been completely billed so an approximate cost was not available.
Here's some of the new features at AAPS buildings students will see this fall:
Synthetic turf practice field at Skyline High School
A new synthetic turf practice field has replaced the grass field inside the track at Skyline High School. The approximately $900,000 field is the second turf field at Skyline, as the other one is in the football stadium.
Synthetic turf creates an equitable playing surface for teams year-round, Gruszczynski said. It also costs less to maintain.
Both Pioneer and Huron high schools have two synthetic turf athletic fields.
Universally accessible playground at Haisley Elementary School
It's the first playground in AAPS to be specifically designed to be universally accessible. The playground includes wheelchair swings and is completely compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Gruszczynski said there's a large special needs community at Haisley and a parent group has been active in pushing for a new playground at that location.
AAPS is in the middle of upgrading all of the doors on its schools that were installed when the schools were built that are in disrepair. Existing doors are made of galvanized, painted steel.
New doors are made of fiberglass reinforced panels, Gruszczynski said. The perk of the new doors is that they don't rust, Gruszczynski said.
Many of the older doors have either warped or rusted to the point that they can't be trusted to close completely, Gruszczynski said.
Several years ago the exterior doors at Scarlett and Clague middle schools were updated using the district's sinking fund millage.
This summer, exterior doors at Forsythe Middle School, King Elementary, Mitchell Elementary, Ann Arbor Open/Mack School, Wines Elementary and Abbot Elementary were replaced at a cost of about $800,000.
Replacing school doors will be an ongoing project for the district, Gruszczynski said.
Roofs, heating and cooling upgrades and new floors
A number of infrastructure improvements have happened throughout AAPS buildings.
About $1 million was invested to install new roofs on portions of Slauson Middle School, Northside Elementary School, the gym at Clague Middle School, Mitchell Elementary School and Pioneer High School. Portions of the roofs at Lawton and Logan elementary schools have been re-sealed as well.
A number of projects to replace and refurbish heating and cooling equipment at schools across the district will give staff better control over the temperature in buildings, Gruszczynski said.
Those projects include the boiler at the pool at Skyline High School, the boilers at Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, fans at Slauson Middle School, fans at Pioneer, fans at the music and pool at Scarlett Middle School and air handling units at Tappan Middle School.
The main chiller at Huron High School has been replaced this summer.
New vinyl flooring has also been installed at Lakeside Elementary, Burns Park Elementary, Clague Middle School and the music room at Abbot Elementary.
Fresh pavement on parking lots and playgrounds
Parking lots at Ann Arbor Technological High School ($57,000), Bryant Elementary School ($250,000), Roberto Clemente ($79,000) and Huron High ($56,000) have been repaved.
At Haisely ($10,000), Dicken ($29,000) and Northside ($10,000), outside play areas have been resurfaced. An outdoor basketball court at Slauson has been re-done ($21,000), as well as a tennis court at Tappan Middle School ($53,000).
Reconfigured computer labs at Huron and Community high schools
As a result of the second phase of AAPS' tech bond, a number of new computers are coming to Huron and Community high schools this fall—and the computer labs had to be reconfigured to accommodate the new machines. New wiring had to be run for new tables that will be installed, Gruszczynski said.
Fixed sewer issues at Community High School
A sewer pipe at Community High School had been causing numerous backups to the sanitary system in the school, Gruszczynski said. Workers repaired the aging pipe this year to ensure that it drains properly, Gruszczynski said.