By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school board rejected a $129,000 bid to replace a clock and intercom system at Hays High School.
The bid also included installing new wiring and cable for a new phone system and security cameras that were set to be purchased at a later date.
The clock, intercom and phone systems are original to the building and are outdated, said Rusty Lindsay, building and grounds director.
The phone system software is no longer supported, and the school has had problems with the system.
As the district looked at replacing the phone system, HHS began having problems with the HVAC system. The HVAC system failed this year because of a problem with the clock system.
Lindsay said the more serious problem is the phone system, but the district does not have money in the budget this year to replace it.
Superintendent John Thissen said, “We also know there is the possibility we could get into the school year next year and have a catastrophic issue with our phones. That is a possibility, so they are just trying to ready it so it will be as quick or fast as possible when that time comes when we have the money or we feel we have to do something.”
Lindsay said he planned on coming back to the board in the fall with options to replace the phone system, but he said regardless of what the district does to replace the phone system, the infrastructure covered on this bid has to be in place to install a new phone system.
Board member Lance Bickle asked if the facilities staff could install the cable.
The facilities staff is already committed to replacing more than 500 interior locks throughout the district buildings this summer. Scott Summers, technology director, and other staff are also going to be occupied with renovations at the Oak Park Medical Complex.
“A few weeks ago I din’t vote for the technology to move ahead the $250,000 for the iPads for the middle school,” Board President Mandy Fox said. “It wasn’t that I didn’t think we need those. It wasn’t because I don’t think that was something that didn’t need to be fixed. My problem on voting on some of these things to move forward is that I don’t understand that these are the greatest needs for that building or the district at this point in time.”
Lindsay said from a buildings and grounds perspective there is a need to take care of this issue at HHS.
“We are trying to address three other systems at the same time,” he said. “HVAC is something I have been coming in and talking to you about, and there is a great need there. Part of this system that we are replacing is the control part of the that. My failures this year have been on that side of it.”
The entire HVAC system went down earlier this school year because of one relays connected with the clock system failed, he said.
“In terms of total systems in that building,” Lindsay said, “this is my first step. It is my highest priority in terms of taking the next steps for it.”
Fox said, “It goes back to a facilities plan. I need a ranking system. When I go to work every day, I have a list. This is the most important thing and then this and then this. I fail to conceptualize that for the district. Not even on academic needs, just facilities. I need a list. If this doesn’t get fixed, we can’t operate.”
Lindsay said the problem is the facility needs are dynamic. He gave the example of roofs. The roof replacement at Roosevelt had to be moved up because of a more rapid deterioration in that roof.
“That is part of the problem of having systems that are all about the same age throughout the whole entire district,” he said. “You might have a plan that is static for you at that moment, but then it becomes dynamic because you have another system failure and that changes everything that you planned.”
Board member Sophia Rose Young also said she wished she had a better idea of what was happening with facilities.
Fox said to Lindsay, “I don’t like to put out fires. I like to plan. But I know you have been put in a position where you are putting out fires.”
Lindsay said he has a five-year capital improvement plan, some pieces of which are on schedule and other pieces are not.
Fox asked for estimates on the full phone and camera system. She said she thought the project needed to be done but said she needs more information. Lindsay agreed to bring back estimates.
The vote on the bid was 3-2. Commissioner Greg Schwartz was absent and Luke Oborny recused himself because he is employed by Nex-Tech, the low bidder on the project. A motion needs a majority of the seven members to pass, which is four votes.
In other business, the board approved a project to add secure entrances at HHS and Hays Middle School. The district has received more than $86,000 in grants for the project. The district’s portion of these projects is $16,693. The district hopes to have the entrance project completed this summer.
The entrances will funnel visitors through the schools’ offices after the start of the school day.
Oak Park Complex
The board heard an update on the Oak Park Medical Complex renovation. They also briefly discussed renaming the facility, but no names were offered at this time.