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Willmar School Board OKs $1.44M in contracts for Kennedy improvements

Erica Dischino / Tribune

WILLMAR — Work will continue this summer on remodeling and maintenance projects funded by the Willmar Public Schools bonding that voters approved in a 2015 referendum.

The $52.35 million in bonding provided funding for three major construction projects which have been completed and for a broad array of remodeling and deferred maintenance projects.

Monday, the Willmar School Board approved two contracts for improvements to Kennedy Elementary School, the oldest of the district's three K-5 schools.

A $625,000 contract for window and door replacement was approved for Kennedy. Another for replacing classroom ventilation units and related improvements was approved for $815,000.

Both contracts were awarded to Boser Construction of Sauk Rapids. Boser will be working on fire suppression improvements at Roosevelt Elementary this summer, too. The company listed several Willmar companies as its subcontractors.

Aaron Pilarski, the district's buildings and grounds manager, said the projects would cost more than originally budgeted because more work was being done. He and business and finance director Pam Harrington said the additional funds would come from interest earned on bond proceeds and from contingency funds.

Bids on some other projects have also been less than planned.

The projects include replacing windows on the east side of the school and making improvements to the front entrance. The district had been using annual maintenance money to replace the ventilators a couple a year, and this project will replace the remaining ones.

The units have been used beyond their life expectancy and "are not efficient at all," Pilarski said.

The board agreed to seek bids on two other summer projects that will be funded with the district's Long-Term Facility Maintenance fund. The district plans to spend about $2 million this year on facility maintenance and capital projects. That funding is provided by local taxes and state aid, and it is earmarked for those purposes.

The projects include work to repair or replace the south parking lot and Lake Marley road at Willmar Senior High School. The work will include adding handicapped parking stalls and making additional curb cuts near the school's athletic and west entrances and near the softball fields.

School Board member Scott Thaden asked if the project could include additional lighting along the Lake Marley road. Other board members agreed that the road is poorly lit.

The other project would update corridors at Kennedy. That includes installing suspended ceilings, LED lighting, replacing doors, painting and replacing signage. It's the first year of a multiple-year plan to make updates at Kennedy.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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