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RUSD board approves $44.5M to renovate two schools

RACINE — An additional $44.5 million in referendum dollars will be available to renovate two Racine Unified schools.

During its meeting Monday, the Racine Unified School District board authorized:

  • Up to $23 million in borrowing for additions and construction to Starbuck Middle School. At Starbuck, 1516 Ohio St., the $23 million is in addition to $40 million already authorized for the project last June by the school board.
  • Up to $21.5 million in borrowing to fund renovations and additions to Jerstad-Agerholm K-8 school. At Jerstad-Agerholm, 3535 LaSalle St., the $21.5 million is in addition to $35 million authorized for the project last May by the school board.

Not all of the $44.5 million authorized Monday will necessarily be spent.

According to Stacy Tapp, RUSD chief of communication and community engagement, the estimated project cost at Starbuck is $54.1 million, well below the $63 million now authorized. The estimated project cost at Jerstad-Agerholm is $50.2 million, well below the $56.5 million now authorized.

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As part of RUSD’s long-term plans, Starbuck will expand to serve elementary school students. Work will occur in two phases, which are slated to start in spring 2023 and spring 2024. The project is scheduled to be completed in fall 2024.

At Jerstad-Agerholm, the first phase of work, on the elementary portion of the school, should start next spring. The second phase, on the middle school portion, is scheduled to begin in spring of 2024 and be done in fall of 2024.

Mike Clark, RW Baird financial advisor to RUSD, answered a question from school board member Scott Coey about why board authorization is required now for projects that aren’t scheduled to be finished until next fall.

“You want to make sure you have full authority to complete the project(s),” Clark said. “If you start the project(s) with the existing authority and for some reason down the road, in the second year or a year from now, you come back for the remaining authority and you’re not able to obtain it … you have a partially built building with no ability to finish.”

Clark also noted that the construction contracts to renovate Starbuck and Jerstad-Agerholm will require school board approval.

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Both of those projects will be funded by referendum money from the $1 billion, 30-year referendum approved by voters in 2020. This new allocation brings the total referendum allocation to $294.5 million. RUSD has not spent any referendum money yet.

New boilers at Julian Thomas

The school board approved a bid from United Mechanical to replace the boilers at Julian Thomas Elementary School, 930 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. United Mechanical’s bid was $149,900, the lowest of the three bids received. The bid also includes a 10% contingency allocation, so RUSD may have to pay up to $164,890.

The board did not discuss replacing the two boilers at its Sept. 12 work session, but the item was on Monday’s agenda because of the urgency to install new boilers before they are needed.



Barbian

“We wanted to get those boilers in place before we started heating the building,” said Jane Barbian, school board president. “We’re really pushing the envelope here.”

Peter Reynolds, RUSD chief operating officer, said the new boilers “will be operational within four to five weeks.”

The current boilers have been at Julian Thomas since 2003, according to Reynolds, who said they “have reached the end of their life cycle.”

“Unfortunately, we are unable to repair them to ensure they maintain operation through this winter, hence our request,” Reynolds said.

Other business

The board approved a bid from Riley Construction to build a secure vestibule at Mitchell School, 2701 Drexel Ave. Riley Construction’s bid was $199,875, the lowest of the five bids received. The bid also includes a 10% contingency allocation, so RUSD may have to pay up to $219,862.50. Work on the project is expected to start in October and be finished by April 2023.

The board approved a bid from GFL Environmental to handle RUSD’s waste and recycling services for the next year. Total waste and recycling costs for the next year are estimated to cost $225,000 to $325,000.

The next RUSD board business meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17

Photos from the first day of school at Racine

big hug

big hug

Andrea Wamble, right, hugs her daughter Egypt Gates outside Jerstad-Agerholm School, 3601 Lasalle St., Racine, Thursday morning ahead of the first day of the 2022-23 school year.


RYAN PATTERSON,

All smiles

All smiles

From left: Melissa Baranek, Evelyn Scott, Scarlet Kaup and Keri Kaup smile at Schulte Elementary School, 8515 Westminster Drive, Sturtevant, Thursday morning.


RYAN PATTERSON,

High five!

High five!

Racine Unified School District Superintendent Eric Gallien high-fives a student at Schulte Elementary School Thursday morning while school Principal Matthew Geiger looks on. The RUSD 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Brotherly love

Brotherly love

Jayden Ingram, left, and Jeremih Ingram arrive at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Reviewing their schedules

Reviewing their schedules

From left: Prince Lighthall, Jayden Price, Dvontae Lminggio and Doneirro Hall go over their class schedules at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning.


RYAN PATTERSON,

first day

first day

Gwen Seay, right, and Rayshawn Ellison stand in line at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

happy friends

happy friends

Jackson Holmquist, right, and Romeo Arellano arrive at Schulte Elementary School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Smiles all around

Smiles all around

Racine Unified School District Superintendent Eric Gallien and Dynasti Howard smile at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The RUSD 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Picking up his schedule

Picking up his schedule

Prince Lighthall waits to pick up his class schedule at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Ready to go

Ready to go

Kindergarten teacher Dylan Garcia waits in line to enter Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Having fun

Having fun

Raniah Ball dances Thursday at Gilmore Fine Arts School. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Hand in hand

Hand in hand

Brenda Morones, right, and Enrique Morones walk to Schulte Elementary School Thursday morning. The RUSD 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Thumbs up!

Thumbs up!

Third-grader Layla McAlister arrives at Jerstad-Agerholm School Thursday morning. The Racine Unified 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

New Schulte principal

New Schulte principal

Racine Unified School District Superintendent Eric Gallien, right, and Schulte Elementary School Principal Matthew Geiger welcome students Thursday morning. The RUSD 2022-23 school year began Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Eric Gaul

Eric Gaul

Racine Unified School District Superintendent Eric Gallien at Schulte Elementary School Thursday morning.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Jerstad-Agerholm School

Jerstad-Agerholm School

Students linger outside Jerstad-Agerholm School on the first day of the 2022-23 school year on the morning of Sept. 1.


RYAN PATTERSON,

Schulte Elementary School

Schulte Elementary School

Schulte Elementary School on Thursday.


RYAN PATTERSON,

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