In July 2007, Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, at the request of the School Board and Administration, prepared and presented to the District a comprehensive Feasibility Study of all the facilities in the District. This study ranked all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and HVAC by condition ranking from poor to excellent. The study also addressed all of the sites and buildings as far as ADA compliancy, safety and building code issues. As a result of the study, the decision was made to address the significant inadequacies of the West Reading Elementary Center and determine what other facility needs should be addressed in the coming years.
Beginning in November of 2007 through March 2008, presentations were made showing options for a new West Reading Elementary Center and other facility needs throughout the District that could total upwards of $60 million. Through the Citizens Facility Council and the feedback from the presentations that were conducted, it was decided by the Board at the March 31, 2008 Board meeting to have a special election to incur debt of $37 million for the purposes of building a new West Reading Elementary Center for an amount not to exceed $32 million and $5 million would be for addressing other facility needs in the District. The special election took place on July 1 and the referendum was defeated.
Starting in August of 2008 and working through the fall, a re-prioritization effort was undertaken to identify the most pressing needs of the District from the perspective of building maintenance and system upgrades for the District’s buildings and grounds. The purpose was to develop the initial phase of a long range facilities plan for the District. The effort was lead by the Director of Buildings and Grounds.
The re-prioritization assessment began with a review of the Feasibility Study prepared by Crabtree, Rohrbaugh and Associates. A meeting with their project manager took place to review the approach taken in developing the Feasibility Study and to answer any questions. Inspections of the facilities were then completed along with extensive discussions with the District’s building maintenance staff. The re-prioritization plan included the Junior/Senior High School, Wyomissing Hills Elementary Center, West Reading Elementary Center, the Field House, Track Pavilion, and the District Office.
Included in the Feasibility Study was an evaluation of the anticipated lifespan of the building components. This information was used to estimate the remaining life of the systems and components and identify items for replacement. We made use of this information and supplemented it with an examination of building components and systems current condition and maintenance history.
Each major facility component and system was then evaluated and assigned to an impact category. The purpose of the impact assignment was to further understand the impact to the building should a component or system fail or found to be inadequate. The risk categories, in order of severity, include Risk of Forcing School Closing, Safety, Security, PDE Requirement, ADA Public Accommodation, Energy Efficiency Improvement, Life Extension and Cosmetic Improvement.
Examples of building components and systems which were categorized as Risk of Forcing School Closing are major roof leaks; failure of the domestic water system; disruption of the natural gas service; failure of the boilers, heating system and controls; failure of the power distribution system and loss of electrical service.
As the initial re-prioritization efforts progressed it became clear that roofs were a major area of concern. Significant roof leaks developed over the past few years causing interior damage to walls and ceilings in numerous areas of the buildings. A roofing consultant was retained to examine in detail the condition of all roofs, perform testing on roof materials and recommend a plan for repair and replacement.
A draft re-prioritization plan has been developed that identifies the current and most critical elements of a long range facilities plan and estimates the cost to implement each item. The plan also includes the results of the roof assessment. Estimated costs include the cost for engineering, design, and contractor labor, materials, supervision, overhead and profit. The draft plan is a three year plan and includes cost escalation factors for future years.
It must be emphasized that this re-prioritization plan is a draft developed with the approval of the Facilities Liaisons for consideration of the Board as a whole; it has not yet been approved by the Board and is subject to further review and study. The draft re-prioritization plan represents a first step in the continuing process of reviewing, preserving and updating the District’s facilities. This plan was prepared with a view to keeping our facilities open while a longer term solution is being developed.