Sulphur Springs Independent School District is taking advantage of vacant school campuses this summer to put into action at least three big projects at the third and fourth grade campus, and two at the high school.
At Sulphur Springs Elementary School this summer, crews will be working to fix drainage issues, repairing the Bell Street parking lot and are expected to replace concrete roof decking on the old section of the building.
Crews are readying to repair pot holes in the asphalt parking lot on Bell Street, then they will seal all cracks and spray on seal-coat to preserve the surface.
The district has advertised for bid proposals to replace 2,000-square-feet of roof decking on the old building at SSES. The decking consists of light weight concrete that has deteriorated over the last 54 years.
“It went up in 1959. That’s a good lifetime for a roof. A small portion of the building decking will be peeled off where the roof is bad and replaced with new decking and roofing,” said Dale Guest, SSISD director of plant operations.
Guest said if the district receives an acceptable bid, the proposal for SSES deck roofing is expected to be presented to the school board at their July 15 meeting.
Dirt and pipe work is already in the works to help resolve a long-standing surface drainage problem at SSES. Drain pipes will be put in to help move water away from the building. Dirt work will be used to slope away from the school to keep water from pooling beside and going under the building.
“There’s a lot of dirt work. It sits on a flat piece of ground. We want to make sure water drains away from the building. As it is, water on the roof pools all around the building and gets under it. It’s never good to have water under your house,” Guest said, noting drainage has been an ongoing problem on the SSES campus.
He also said the district is advertising for bids to pave the section of Connally Street located behind the Civic Center from the creek to the Sulphur Springs High School parking lot.
“That 200-foot section of driveway is in a bad state of repair. We want to replace it with concrete. We’ll work with the Civic Center — it ties in with the back of their property — so they’ll still have access,” Guest said, noting that section of roadway belongs to the school district.
Also, school officials are still working with architects and construction managers on the addition at the tennis complex.
“We hope to have that ready to go out for bids before long, too,” Guest said.
If school trustees give approval during Friday’s special noon board meeting, a new Honeywell-Tridium Energy Management System will also be purchased and installed at SSHS. The system would replace a Barber-Coleman direct digital system installed in 1994.
Guest noted the Barber-Coleman system was the first energy management system installed in the district. Since then, systems have been installed at the various campuses as funding allowed to reduce emergency costs. This allowed all the air conditioning units to be connected so they can be turned on and off by the computer system to save energy and money. Over the last 20 years, the district has saved $2 million in utility costs, according to administrators.
The program has since become obsolete, and requires a few old computers be kept to run the DOS system.
Five years ago, the district started converting campuses from the Barber-Coleman system with Honeywell-Tridium systems. Lamar, Travis and Bowie Primary schools have all been converted to the Honeywell-Tridium web-based system. Administration and special services buildings, SSES and Douglas have been “front-end” converted to a hybrid system with a Honeywell-Tridium web-based processor and the old Barber-Coleman system of controllers on each HVAC unit.
The SSISD Energy Management Department is asking the board to approve purchase of a complete Honeywell-Tridium Energy Management System for SSHS, using current budget funding, which would leave only Austin and ECLC on the old system until they too can be converted.
Sulphur Springs Middle School and the SSHS Multi-Purpose Building were both constructed with the Honeywell-Tridium system, which is “much more flexible and more user-friendly than the old system.” The H-T system allows networked control not only of HVAC systems, but also lights, water heaters, water fountains, exhaust fans, ventilation, outside night lights and other functions so they can be put on timers or motion-controlled for more efficiency.
“The new system will enhance that considerably. The big charges in electricity are for demand. We can better control demand with the new system. We do that at the new middle school, where operating costs are pleasantly low. You look at square feet and use per square foot. [Electricity costs are] cheaper than at high school. We want to add the new system at high school, which can help lower utility costs,” Guest explained. “We want to make it more efficient.”
Campuses also are undergoing routine minor repairs to spruce them up again before student return to classes Aug. 27 for the new school year. One of those minor repairs is painting by an all-woman paint crew, consisting of about a dozen women who work in campus cafeterias during the regular school year. The “Kitchen Paint Crew” has been working at SSHS, painting doors to the agriculture building. They will continue working on exteriors then move to interior areas that need repainting at SSHS before moving on to tackle projects at Douglas Intermediate School and the covered walk and exterior doors at SSES later this summer.
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