U-CF School Board approves building projects
● By J. Chambless
Supervisor James Whitesel and the Buildings and Grounds department of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District have their work cut out for them. The April 8 and 22 school board meetings centered around many general maintenance projects, plus one Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP) item, most to be completed over the summer.
Major items include partial roof replacements at Patton Middle School and Chadds Ford Elementary School at a total cost of $822,000. The four high school stairways that were not updated as part of the major 2010 construction project will get a $126,000 facelift. The $187,400 retractable safety netting system (from the LRFP) will be installed on the high school junior varsity and varsity baseball fields, keeping balls in play and away from spectators and other fields.
The middle school media center will be modernized for the first time since 1998. Improvements include repositioning the circulation desk, installing moveable bookshelves, a makerspace (place for collaboration) and adding a small meeting room. These renovations are designed for optimal flexibility, as spaces can be quickly reconfigured to suit the need of whichever group is using them. The cost to the district is $148,500, in addition to a donation from the middle school PTO.
What cannot wait until the summer is the purchase and installation of a middle school cafeteria dishwashing machine, and a gas steamer and double ovens for the high school. No tax money is used, as the $55,000 cost will be paid for from the self-funding food service budget.
At the work session, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Tim Hoffman proposed joining an Ebook and audio library sharing consortium, where libraries band together and offer all of their online items to other members. This allows U-CF libraries to increase their digital offerings at a much more moderate price, versus owning all of the items outright. Hoffman also presented a new catalog program (called Destiny) that will make searching for books much easier, especially for younger readers. The user interface would be more intuitive, similar to Netflix. Additionally, unlike the current system, searches will be successful, even if an author’s name or book title is misspelled.
The 2019-2020 budget will be formally revealed at a special May 6 school board meeting. The budget would be available for public comment and review before its final approval in June.