Early childhood center won’t open by August
June 22, 2012 · Jake Krob
Lisbon's new early childhood center won't be open in time for the start of the new school year in August.
The school board last week toured the facility, which is well under construction on the east side of the campus. Construction manager Sara Sokolik, of Hillebrand Construction, led board members through the facility, which includes space for preschool, daycare and a full-size gym.
The board learned in April that an Aug. 1 completion day, the plan since the beginning, would likely not happen. In May, the board was presented with a new scheduled that could put the project back on schedule.
Since then, it's changed.
"It's looking now that is not going to be the case," superintendent Brad Laures said of an August opening.
He said he's working with Hillbrand to get an accurate opening date, so that the community, preschool and daycare families can be given a firm answer. Until then, the early childhood program will continue operating in school facilities it has used for years.
School board member Dave Prasil wondered how the change in opening would affect licensing from the state.
Jackie Luzum, director of the program for the school district, said the license is up Aug. 31. She said the state is working with the school district, but "the end of September is the farthest we can go" to close the current program and re-open in the new facility. There is an opportunity, however, to get a provisional license to operate beyond that.
Board members had no comments about the construction timeline. According to the school district, the contractor will owe the district $500 for every day past the Aug. 1 deadline.
The board unanimously approved moving forward with an estimated $100,000 project to construct two playgrounds for the new early childhood center, working with the firm Outdoor Recreation Products. The project also includes some type of soft surface. Laures said the school wouldn't be using chips or other fibers, which kids can place in their mouths and don't meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
Laures laid out several options for paying for the project. One option was funds from the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL), which the district uses for repairs and equipment purchases.
"I want to stay away from PPEL as much as possible," said board president Andy Sullivan.
Prasil agreed, adding that he'd like the board to look at needs for the next few years and determine how to best use PPEL funds.
Board members also don't want to dip into funds used to operate the daycare. Although the fund has a healthy balance, Prasil noted that it will be needed to pay for expenses in the new facility - such as custodial work, heating and cooling.
The district has funds from the state for preschool, which can be used to fund the purchase of items related to that program.
In the end, the board agreed that funds for the playground should be from: preschool funds, the construction furnishings budget, possible grants (including from selling $500 bricks as a fundraiser) and, if needed, from the district's general fund.