Ray Daigle, the Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) director of maintenance and operations, spoke to the school board on December 8 about a three-year plan for making necessary repairs to the Harwood building. The proposed $59.5 million bond that failed handily this fall included $21,934,081 for repairs and compliance and $14,343,440 for efficiencies and improvements to the building, which was built in 1965. Without those funds, the board has to use maintenance reserve funds to tackle the most urgent projects. “We’ve heard from people to accelerate these repairs,” Daigle said.
Daigle identified the top priorities as roof repair, HVAC improvements, replacing bleachers in the gym (there is currently a section that is unusable and spectators have to sit by the locker rooms) and improving the science labs. “We’re working with engineers to determine the highest need and where we can have the highest impact,” he said.
He said they would repair sections of the roof right away but would wait to repair the segments over the science lab area until it’s clear what work needs to be done to bring the labs up to safety compliance. “We have to figure out the size and safety concerns in the science lab,” he said. The board is working with architectural firm TruexCullins and engineers to determine what is needed.
The HVAC improvements will be done over three years. Replacing the bleachers in the gym will cost $150,000, which Daigle called “a significant upgrade.” They will also patch the parking lot, which will cost roughly $20,000. Without funds from the bond, increased lighting and stormwater needs will likely be delayed. Daigle called those improvements “a considerable project.”
Daigle said the necessary work will require a number of contractors for individual projects. There is currently $3.1 million in the maintenance and reserve fund, not including projects already underway. Next year’s budget will include an additional $1 million for the fund, bringing the funds available for repairs up to $4.1 million.
UPDATE FROM STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES
The school board’s three student representatives – Jeswin Antony, Maisie Franke and Maddy Thibault -- shared updates from Harwood Union High School, including fall sports highlights, the successful Harwood Christmas tree sale and upcoming auditions for the school musical, “Freaky Friday.”
They discussed a survey that revealed many students were not aware of the bond that failed this fall or what it entailed. The representatives said it seemed information did not reach many students and suggested TA announcements and word of mouth as the best ways to reach students. They also brought up a recent issue of vaping in school bathrooms. Representative Antony is involved in a group that is working to address the issue and make bathrooms a safe place for students.