Fort Smith Public School Board approves district master plan to upgrade facilities

The Fort Smith School District administration building Friday, Jan. 22, 2021,  (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)
The Fort Smith School District administration building Friday, Jan. 22, 2021, (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Andy Shupe)

FORT SMITH -- The Fort Smith School District plans to spend almost $23 million in the next six years to update district facilities.

Joseph Velasquez, district construction project manager, told board members Jan. 22 a new, six-year plan has to be submitted to the state every three years.

Superintendent Terry Morawski said the plan needs to be submitted, but the projects don't have to be completed according to the timeline, if at all, if the district changes its mind for some reason.

Velasquez said projects remaining in the 2023-24 school year include underground roof drainage at Peak Innovation Center for $250,000; an art space at Peak for $800,000; roof and HVAC replacement at Kimmons Middle School for $3 million; roof replacement at Southside High School for $2.8 million; and roof replacement at Chaffin Middle School for $1.7 million.

He said a lot of the planned roof projects will be covered by insurance funding due to hail damage, which is where the cost estimates originate. Velasquez said more definitive prices will be available when the contractors are hired.

Projects scheduled for the 2024-25 school year include an elevator at Northside High School for $90,000, an elevator at Fairview Elementary for $40,000, a roof at the district's service center for $1.7 million, a district-wide building automation system for $90,000, updating the kitchen plumbing system at Fairview for $70,000, demolition of district properties around Northside for $300,000, roof replacement and HVAC at Orr Elementary for $866,000 and HVAC at Darby Middle School for $500,000.

Projects scheduled for the 2025-26 school year include updating the kitchen plumbing system at Ramsey Middle School for $100,000 and roof replacements at Fairview Elementary for $1 million, at Ramsey for $907,000, at Barling Elementary for $423,000 and at the Northside science wing and field house for $2 million.

Projects scheduled for the 2026-27 school year include roof replacement and HVAC at Sutton Elementary for $1.1 million and roof replacements at Woods Elementary and Carnall Elementary for $979,000 and $711,000, respectively.

Projects for the 2027-28 school year are the Cavanaugh Elementary roof at $779,000, Cook Elementary School roof at $686,000 and the district's Chaffee Warehouse roof at $67,000.

Projects for the 2028-29 school year are the Ballman Elementary roof at $671,000, the Spradling Elementary roof at $556,000 and the Howard Elementary roof at $343,000.

Projects scheduled for 2029-30 include a Belle Point roof at $192,000, the adult education center roof at $235,000, the Parker Center roof at $217,000 and the Rogers Center roof at $76,000.

Addie Reith, the district's communications specialist, said the money for these projects will come out of the district's capital improvement budget.

"I know that replacing my roof at home is not the same as this," School Board member Susan Krafft said, "but when we're talking about an insurance claim to replace a roof five years from now, is there already damage that occurred so you know that insurance will cover it?"

Velasquez said insurance has looked at the damage already. He said the reason why those projects are being spread out over several years is so that they can be completed over the summers when students aren't on campus.

"Now if there are situations that arise where there is a leak within the building, our policy does allow us to come in and do a patch on that existing roof, which our team has been documenting to submit to the insurance as needed," he said.

School Board member Matt Blaylock said delaying these projects means the price could increase 15%-20% due to inflation.

Velasquez said projects will be completed sooner, if possible. He said administration has been talking with the insurance adjuster about the escalation of costs and materials.

Upcoming Events