Abby K12 proceeds withFEMA application
By Ross Pattermann
The Abbotsford School District has taken the next step in its attempt to bring a multi-purpose dome to the area, committing to a roughly $1 million cost-sharing contribution during a special board of education meeting on Monday.
The board acted after hearing new details aboutaFederalEmergencyManagement Agency (FEMA) grant as proposed by Jordan Buss of JBAD Solutions.
The board spoke with Buss at the end of last month, and received more information regarding the cost estimate — as well as what the school district’s required share would be. Under the grant, FEMA would supply 75 percent of the funds needed to build a storm shelter dome, which would also serve as an auditorium, and provide additional space for several classrooms, storage units and for athletic events.
The district would supply the final 25 percent of the cost, along with those costs that would be deemed ineligible under the grant, such as retractable bleacher seats, paint and furnishings for the potential classrooms.
After adding everything up, Buss told the board the final cost of the structure would be roughly $3 million. With the district’s 25 percent share, and the ineligible costs added together, the district must be willing to provide $1 million.
The district’s share was larger than initially thought. This was due to the district having to make repairs to the school’s curb and gutter and sidewalks and adding a seven-foot space between the dome and school to allow for footings to be poured and space for move equipment to be moved in and out.
With the new costs factored in, Superintendent Sherry Baker cautioned the board not to get caught up in expensive additions.
“There is a lot of innovation and creativity in the drawing, but the reality is, we have to be able to fund our share,” Baker said. “What I am looking at is you creating a plain-jane building right now. Don’t get into adding all the bleachers and that stuff.”
Buss told the board that the district will learn by June 1 if the FEMA grant application has been approved, with the money to be awarded Dec. 31.
Buss also said the district has up to 36 months to complete the project once the grant is awarded, giving Abbotsford ample time to raise funds to furnish and finish the interior of the dome.
“Somebody still has to pay the piper,” board president Don Mendenwaldt said.
To pay for its share, the district would delay HVAC upgrades at the north gym, securing $260,000. An additional $90,000 would come from the Carl B. Thompson trust fund over the course of three years. Another $180,000 will be available once the district pays the remaining cost for its English Language Arts curriculum.
Baker said the Abbotsford Education Foundation is able to support up to $100,000, and more funds could be taken from the district’s Fund 46, which is used for long-term capital projects. Baker said there would be no need for a referendum to build the dome. With this stage done, it now becomes a waiting game.