SGCS approves new HVAC system

By Nicole Minier

CHURUBUSCO — Smith-Green Community Schools’ board is moving forward with a new HVAC system at the school.

The total cost of the project and its financing, through a bond approved by the board earlier this year, is $1.38 million. The cost appears hefty, but board members say it’s low in comparison to what it could be, thanks to the hard work of Wayne Krider and Joel McConnell, of the maintenance department.

A well-maintained HVAC system usually lasts about 30 years. Churubusco’s system will be 65 years old next year.

When parts were no longer made for the system, Krider and McConnell took to making their own parts.

“The reason it has survived so long is the maintenance,” said board member Nick Uecker.

The HVAC system is one of many areas of the school that benefits from Krider’s dedication.

“He keeps this building moving,” said Hile. “It will be a sad day when he retires.”

The board hopes to get decades out of the new HVAC system, which, for the first time, will provide air conditioning to the gymnasium.

“Our community has said over the years that they want air conditioning in the gym,” said SGCS Superintendent Dan Hile said.

The $1.4 million in expenses is not only the new system, but the building remodel needed for the location of the equipment.

School leaders worked to find a location that wouldn’t cause noise issues in the gymnasium.

“I appreciate your patience with looking at all the different places,” said board member Cathy Petrie.

The HVAC project was passed by the board with a 4-0 vote.

The bond used to pay for the project will not affect the school’s general fund.

Also at the school board meeting:

• The board formally approved the evaluation sheet for the superintendent’s position, which has three components. Eighty percent of Hile’s evaluation will be based on guidelines from the Indiana School Board Association, 19 percent will be based on the goals Hile presented to the board, and only 1 percent will be based on the state’s accountability grade. Board President Dean Geiger said based on the board’s lack of confidence in the accountability grades, the board decided to make that a low percentage, since it is mandatory to be included.

• The board approved a $116,244.01 Common School Loan for technology purchases. After the purchase, every student in grades 3-12 will have their own device, a Chromebook.

• School board officials discussed their frustration and concern with stop-arm violators — those who disregard the school bus stop arm. The district is looking to equip all of its buses with stop-arm cameras.

“We have a lot of stops on the highways. We do what we can to keep the children from having to cross the highway, but there’s some that we can’t avoid it,” said Business Manager Jodi Royer.

Royer said in one recent incident, a driver passed the school bus on the right side, where the school bus door is.

“Luckily there weren’t any kids getting off the bus — that could have been a really bad thing,” she said.

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