It will be another busy summer for Yuma School District-1 in regards to capital projects.
The district is utilizing several different funding sources to continue to make upgrades, even after nearing the end of the $32 million renovation/expansion project that took place over the last two years.
In fact, some add-on work is being done now at Yuma High School. Contingency funds were remaining when the main project was completed, so the district got approval from BEST to do some exterior work on the “old” part of the school.
The stucco and trim are being repaired and painted. It will freshen up the look, and Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said it also will help prevent leaks, and thus protecting the extensive renovation that was done inside.
Crews also have been trying to clean up the white stains on the brick, but that is proving to be difficult.
The district is using its own funds to make improvements in the YHS Auditorium. The lights and sound system are being upgraded this summer. Chrisman said the hope is the work will be completed by the time school starts. Potential upgrades for summer of 2023 involve seating and stage extension.
District funds also are being used to renovate the old ag building on the YHS campus, turning it into the home for the district office, transportation and maintenance.
Asbestos abatement is being done right now, and then it will take several months for the renovation. Chrisman said sprinklers need to be installed, shop lights replaced, and then all the renovation required to create offices and storage areas. Some district vehicles will be parked inside the building, as well as maintenance equipment. The school buses will be lined up on the east side of the building.
The project is expected to cost nearly $1 million, and Chrisman said move-in probably will be toward the end of the fall semester. The district office building located on S. Main St. then will be put up for sale to help offset some of the cost.
Yuma-1 is being able to utilize ESSER funds — which are COVID-19 relief funds — for other projects.
It includes HVAC upgrades for The Pit at YHS and the Morris Elementary School, at a cost of about $1 million. The end result is that both gyms will have air conditioning. Chrisman said those upgrades should be completed near the time school resumes.
The district’s track also will be resurfaced this summer, at a cost of approximately $250,000 out of the district’s Capital Project Fund. Chrisman said that luckily the base is in good shape, so only the running surface needs replaced. She said it is believed water has been leaking under the track, causing it to crack. Besides resurfacing, concrete will be added to the outside of the track, and some drainage work done.
Looking into future years, Chrisman said some potential projects could be new lights at the softball and baseball fields, new bleachers in the YMS gym, and work at the entrance to the track/football complex from the Aux Pit parking lot.
The recent mass shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas, has people wondering about the security at their own schools.
Yuma-1 Superintendent Dianna Chrisman said the district has trainings every year with either the Yuma Police Department or Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. All district buildings also have shelter in place protocols for students and staff.
Chrisman said the main thing is to make sure everyone follows the procedures that are in place. That includes not propping open doors, opening side doors and such.
All doors to all the school buildings are locked from the outside, including the main entrances.
A key fob system is utilized to gain access through doors. A computer system allows for only certain doors can be opened by staff from the outside, and it can be set up that certain doors can be unlocked for a specific amount of time, then lock again, for events such as basketball camps in the summer.
District buildings are equipped with cameras, and Chrisman said more cameras are being installed.
She noted that security is not convenient at times for visitors, staff and students, but “I would rather take a little inconvenience than take a chance of something happening.”
Chrisman added the school district can take all the security precautions it can, but “systems are only as good as the people who are implementing them.”