"Indiana Insurance indicated last spring their concern with the transportation building. At that time, they still insured our building," Supt. Dan Schroeder said. "They came back this year and said they will not insure it liability wise, unless a structural engineer looked it over. The engineer said it had less than a year of useful life. The report was then submitted to Indiana Insurance and their response is they will not insure the contents or the building any longer."
The engineers' report suggested the old creamery building, which houses the transportation office and storage facilities for maintenance supplies, is buckling and is unsafe for future long-term use.
Schroeder recommended the school board declare an emergency for the purpose of using emergency Capital Project Funds so that facilities can be leased and alternate plans can be drawn up as to the current situation, the board voted 7-0 in favor of the emergency action.
The bus hut, where the repairs and maintenance are done on school buses, is insured.
To provide office space for Misner and his workers, the corporation is leasing a trailer.
"There was no plan whatsoever of discussing this," Schroeder said. "But now, because we can't have the building insured and a structural engineer says we shouldn't be inside of it, it is time to bring this discussion back to the forefront. We need room for maintenance and the complex."
As discussion commenced on the relative comparison put together by Tom Neff of Schmidt Associates, which is based off of another design similar in size in Tipton Community Schools to the current transportation building. The Tipton building was bid upon two weeks ago for $2 million.
"It isn't a building design, or anything specific, but taking the building costs and the bid amounts which were dramatically under projection and this is a good comparison," Neff said.
He said the estimate included the removal of other buildings on the location, compaction of soil, preparation of the location, grading and drainage. The location would be at the coal sight, which is next to the current transportation hub. The advantages would be the fueling station, communication lines and the location within the district.
"These are just projected costs, set up as a ball park estimation," Neff said. "The sight has to be set up to meet all the Indiana Department of Environmental standards. The costs may seem high. You are going to ask yourself and other people will ask you if it should be cheaper to do it locally? The problem is that when bond proceeds are used the wage scale waiver comes into play."
"I'm not here to sell you a bus garage, I'm only here to give you a comparison," he added at the end of the proposal
Building and Grounds Director Tom Reberger and Misner spoke to the board.
"These are hard numbers," Reberger said. "They just bid this other project two weeks ago. So they know what they are talking about. The problem with a commercial facility, you can't put up a poll barn, these have to be OSHA approved structures with EPA regulations. We can be shut down if we do not meet these codes."
Misner was honest about the current situation to the board.
"Unfortunately, we are a corporation that doesn't have a lot of money. We could do this cheaper, but to meet regulations, we have to play by the rules," Misner said.
"We have needed a new garage since I started, and we had this planned in the building project and it was taken out. Now we have a building that is functionally obsolete and we don't have a choice anymore."
Board member Forrest Buell asked Misner if driver owned busses would be cheaper for the corporation.
"When dealing with driver owned busses, it isn't cheaper, and to be honest you are dealing with a third party and not the person that lives down the road that you go to church with. The driver's care about the children and a third party person wouldn't care about them the way these drivers do. If a parent has a problem they can call me and we can fix it," Misner replied. "In the Indianapolis, area they are dealing with the problems of a third party and are having a lot of problems."
Board members agreed the bus garage does an awesome job with nothing and something needs to be done.
Misner and Reberger were encouraged to look into the matter and have a list of the essentials that would be needed in a new building.
The board also encouraged Reberger to look into leasing a building with the possibility of buying. Because of building renovation project at the elementary schools the furniture and equipment as well as the equipment housed in the old creamery building no longer has a central location. Currently vacant rooms in the corporation are being used for storage but they will not be assessable once the project starts.
Board members gave approval for a special meeting to be called if Reberger needs to talk to the board.