Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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District looks at repairs, upgrades
This summer, Big Foot wants to repair roof, build wireless Internet Infrastructure

by Rob Ireland

May 26, 2011

Walworth — Big Foot High School officials are hoping to borrow money this summer in order to fund building repairs and create a wireless Internet infrastructure.

In 2000, the school had a large addition and renovation, which required a 20-year loan. District Administrator Dorothy Kaufmann said the repairs to the school are needed to protect the investment taxpayers made when the school was renovated 11 years ago.

"We want to maintain that, we put a lot of money into the building, and the taxpayers expects us, and they should expect us, to keep up the building," Kaufmann said.

From the roofs to the floors, repairs are needed throughout the school. Kaufmann still is awaiting several repair estimates, but said the total project will likely cost around $400,000.

To fund this project, the School Board will likely need to borrow money, she said. Last year, the school planned to complete some of the renovations, but didn't have enough funds to cover it.

The largest financial undertaking is repairing the school's roof. Kaufmann said she received a quote for $261,000 to complete the project.

In the past several years, the school has made repairs to the roof in phases. With a tight budget, the school has put off the final phase of the roof repair.

However, Kaufmann said if roof repairs are put off any longer, the integrity of the work that has already been completed would be lost. Kaufmann said in the past few years the school has spent thousands of dollars each year to make repairs.

During the final phase of the roof repair, the district will place a final coat on the roof. The repairs should stop leaks, which have been an issue at the school the past two years.

Repairs are needed to the school's heating and cooling systems and to an elevator in the library

Carpeting in areas of the school are worn and need replacement. Kaufmann said replacing the flooring in the library will cost about $20,000 and $3,000 for each classroom.

Tracks

The school's track and tennis courts have small cracks, which need to be filled, Kaufmann said. If the small cracks aren't filled, water will enter the holes and make large rifts.

Kaufmann said the athletic track and tennis courts have needed repairs for the past three to four years.

Six tennis courts — a total of 36,000 square feet — at the school need repairs, which will cost the district around $40,000. Repairs to the track could cost an additional $28,000.

Kaufmann said the district also needs to replace the high jump pit, which hasn't been replaced in the past 30 years.

After it rains the pit becomes slick and creates a safety hazard for student athletes. This repair could cost between $22,000 and $23,000.

Finally, the elevator in the school's library is broken and will cost about $10,000 to repair.

Wi-Fi

The district also hopes to improve its technology infrastructure by installing WI-FI throughout the building. Kaufmann said this will likely cost around $50,000.

Throughout the building, there are hubs where Wi-Fi is available. However, it doesn't come without problems.

"It is slow and not consistent," Kaufmann said.

She said through firewalls, the district can control what sites students surf on the school's server. However, using technology appropriately is an important lesson for high school students.

"Kids need to learn to be responsible users of technology," she said. "How you use technology inside of school may be very different than how they use technology outside of school."

Next year, the school plans to launch a pilot course called the "21st Century Pilot program." In the class, students will use technology to complete assignments.

Eventually, Kaufmann wants the district to have one-to-one technology, which is where each student in the school has a piece of modern technology available to them. Kaufmann said the new infrastructure is needed, for the district to advance with new technology growth.

"We can build and secure the network and the kids can bring technology and use it on the tools that they have," she said.