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SIOUX CITY | Sioux City School District buildings will get roof replacements, air conditioning in high school gyms for the first time and lights for baseball fields, if the spending proceeds as anticipated over the next five years.

One other piece at North High School would modernize and expand the lunchroom and commons area, at a cost of $200,000, in 2018-19.

"We have students who are eating in the halls -- very, very cramped in that school," Director of Operations and Maintenance Brian Fahrendholz said.

The seven school board members in a Monday meeting acknowledged learning the details of planned five-year spending through the 2022-23 school year, from revenues arriving from two sources -- a Physical Plant and Equipment levy on property taxes, and a one-cent local option sales tax.

That pot of money can't be spent on instructional costs such as teacher salaries, but the district keeps close tabs on needed improvements to buildings. Therefore, district administrators each year present five-year plans on anticipated spending. The spending discussed Monday won't be made official for the first of five years, for 2018-19, until being adopted in spring 2018 for that year's budget.

Fahrendholz and Finance Director Patty Blankenship laid out the five-year plans.

The one-cent sales tax has been in place in the district dating to the 1990s, and is estimated to give $14.2 million in 2018-19.

A lot of the sales tax money, as has previously been recounted in board meetings, will go to build a new Bryant Elementary School by 2019 and Hunt Elementary School by 2022. The 2018-19 sales tax proposal directs $8.9 million for school construction, plus $500,000 in computer leases and $1.5 million in operating/maintenance costs.

Within those maintenance costs, Fahrendholz said the 2018-19 projects include a combined $275,000 for roof repairs at North High School and East Middle School, plus $200,000 for parking expansions at North and East high schools.

Yet another expense for 2018-19 is the long-sought quest to put lights for late games at the baseball fields at North, East and West high schools.  The estimated cost for the district is $300,000 -- school boosters will pay more of the full expense -- and Fahrendholz said the project is needed, because the failure to have lights has meant the district can't hold tourney games that set the field for the state finals.

Looking ahead to three years from 2021 to 2023, Fahrenholz said the time has come to add air conditioning to the three high school gymnasiums. He said that topic in prior years "raises eyebrows" in the public, but contended the high schools that date to the early 1970s need air conditioning to be modern.

The Physical Plant and Equipment money comes from a levy of 33 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, and gives about $880,000 per year.


County and education reporter

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