The Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) contracted with Emcore in 2019 to assess the highest priorities for repairing critical infrastructure throughout all of the school buildings. Several school roofs and HVAC systems were among the most critical to address to prevent any further necessary repairs. As part of being good stewards of our financial resources, MVCSC prioritizes taking care of the facilities we own.
The funding dedicated for these critical needs projects became known as the Stewardship Projects. MVCSC has started installing new roofing sections on the most urgent areas at Mt. Vernon High School, Mt. Comfort Elementary, and soon, the Mt. Vernon Middle School. More efficient HVAC systems in all schools became a priority which will increase the comfort, quality, and purity of the air for students and staff. The Stewardship Projects represent how MVCSC strives to be good stewards of tax dollars and take care of our existing facilities.
Derek Shelton, director of operations, stated, “The purpose of the project was to help create a better learning environment within our school district for all students and staff. By having roofs that don't leak, as well as HVAC updates that keep the building and classroom temperatures consistently regulated with low humidity, a better learning environment will be in place for all.”
Emcor’s report analyzed all MVCSC facilities in regards to four primary categories: maintenance and efficiency; code compliance, safety and accessibility; and educational adequacy. Through a collaborative process with several staff members, MVCSC was able to identify the most urgent areas. Besides the roofing and HVAC updates/improvements being on the critical list, expanding the grossly undersized Mt. Vernon Middle School band and choir rooms, as well as the cafeteria, also rose to an urgent priority.
MVCSC identified approximately $21 million of needed work for all of our buildings. The Stewardship Projects’ finances used have come from the sale of construction bonds which are repaid through the debt services fund; constituents’ tax rate did not increase from this new debt. Approximately $5 million of funds were appropriated towards expanding the performing arts, fine arts, and cafeteria spaces at the middle school, with an additional $16 million allocated for repairing and replacing roofing and mechanical systems district-wide, with the high school roof being completely replaced.
Greg Elkins, chief financial officer, shared, “The corporation refinanced two existing bonds, saving the corporation $560,000 in 2020 and $7 million over the life of the debt. In addition, MVCSC took advantage of a short-term financing option to generate up-front cash for this project which saved $500,000 in interest payments. MVCSC has a commitment to our taxpayers to make conservative and transparent financial decisions that provide our students and staff with the environment they need to thrive and learn each day.”
The HVAC systems in the select buildings have been updated, and the new roofs in the select buildings are close to completion. The pictures are a comparison of the previously damaged roofs and the new completions in 2020.
Another Stewardship Project was to create adequate spaces for band and choir in the middle school as they are greatly undersized for the population. This project is scheduled to be completed in November 2021. The Mt. Vernon Middle School choir has been traveling to the Administrative Service Center for their class since April 2021. The band has been temporarily relocated to the Marauder Room at the school, making that room unavailable for collaborative uses, which was its original purpose.