Rangely board begins preparations in anticipation of bond issue passage

RANGELY — The Rangely RE-4 School Board is moving forward with preparations in anticipation of passing the district’s proposed $15 million bond. The money would be used for building renovation, safety and technology upgrades and transportation needs.
The district has already published a prioritized list of projects based on two facility needs assessments. The next step is to refine those lists even further. The school board, administrators and staff are looking at the priority list in more detail according to Rangely Superintendent Dwayne Newman.
“We want to be prepared to begin work as soon as possible after the election,” Newman said. “Our project list is already well organized, we just want to double and triple check that our implementation plan is as efficient as we can make it.”
One top priority for the district is quick action on a number of safety related issues. The middle school fire alarm system continues to be problematic. Two weeks ago the Rangely Fire Department was dispatched to what turned out to be a false alarm from the building’s automated system.
“We had someone from the alarm company out to repair our previous problem, but another part of the system malfunctioned. I am really impressed with the quick response we got from the fire department, but I also really don’t want the volunteers rushing to repeat false alarms,” Newman commented.
A repairman from the alarm company was on hand Friday to take care of the problem. Other safety related items listed installation of visitor monitoring systems for the building offices, and repairing loose brick and cracked concrete walks.
In addition to the safety items, the list contains efficiency related renovations.
“Part of our plan is to go forward with efficiency upgrades as soon as possible. That will mean that the district can start realizing utility cost savings even before the entire bond project is finished,” Newman said.
The plan calls for more efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, some of which can be installed without disrupting classrooms where students are working. It may even be possible for some of the work to be done at night so the students would see the improvements from day to day.
The district has received more than 15 responses to the project management Requests For Qualifications advertisement. RFQs list a companies’ resources and references in a format that allows the district to choose the most qualified contractor.
“It’s kind of like a resume from the company that we can use to compare one to another. In the end we want to pick a group that will give us the best value for our dollar,” Newman explained. “We also plan to give extra consideration to local companies who will use local contractors. It makes sense to keep our tax dollars here if at all possible.”
The RFQ submittal and review process is slated to be complete before the election. The district board would make the final selection and be able to sign the contract for project management at the November board meeting.
Asked if he was concerned about the recent state of the national economy and how it might effect the voting, Newman replied, “Certainly I think people will be looking more closely at every expense, including this bond proposal. But the district has well documented critical needs, has planned well, and will be able to implement cost saving projects quickly if the bond passes. Also, the cost to a home owner is only $1.71 per month per $100,000 of home value. I think those factors are the important ones for voters to remember when they cast their ballots.”