SHOW LOW — The Show Low Unified School District bond oversight committee has been meeting regularly following voter approval of a $10 million capital bond in November 2017. During the meeting, Superintendent Shad Housley and Director of Transportation/Facilities Shawn West reviewed the list of pending and completed projects with the board.

Multiple projects have been in process on campuses throughout the school district. Contractors have worked before, during and after classes to complete facility improvements, upgrades and remodeling to improve energy efficiency, lighting, classroom technology and security.

Many of the bond projects will be completed this summer before school resumes in August. Other projects, including several funded through the state School Facilities Board (SFB), will take longer depending on the scope of the work and the SFB funding process. A few SFB weatherization projects are planned to take place over the next three to five years as the process allows. (Some of the exterior work can only be completed as weather conditions allow.)

“By the middle of summer we are going to have about 20 projects in the air,” says Show Low Unified School District Superintendent Shad Housley. “We have many more projects on the docket but we can only manage about 20 projects at a time,” he adds.

The bond priorities were established and adjusted as needed with student safety and security at the top of the list, followed by transportation, technology and facility improvements.

Here is a list, by school, of the bond projects and School Facilities Board (SFB)-funded projects and where they are in the pipeline.

Show Low Junior High School – “Show Low Junior High School is undergoing, overall, the largest facelift of all the campuses,” says Housely.

Air conditioning is being installed throughout the school and the old swamp coolers will eventually be removed.

The front office is being completely relocated and remodeled at the northwest side of the campus, off of Cougar Lane. The school entrance, front office and other administrative offices are being redesigned and moved to the northwest side of the building, along with a new visitor parking lot. The front office will have one secure point of entry with “buzz-in” of visitors controlled by staff. A secure vestibule leading from the front office to the interior of the school will also require “buzz-in” by staff.

The student drop-off and pick-up area will be moved to the interior of the campus for student safety and improved traffic flow. The bus routes will also be changed to compliment the new design and minimize traffic congestion and queuing up on Old Linden Road.

Brand new, large-screen smart televisions have been installed in every classroom to allow for interactive learning with a variety of features. Brand new Google Chromebook lap tops and document cameras that sync with the new televisions are also in the classrooms for student use.

The School Facilities Board-funded weatherization projects will be completed, when possible, in conjunction with the bond projects. They include replacing exterior windows and then water sealing and painting the exterior of all school buildings, including the auditorium.

Show Low High School — The high school’s secure front entrance and has been completed. It includes buzz-in features controlled by the staff consistent with security upgrades throughout the district.

A connecting breezeway between the high school and the wood shop classroom could be completed as early as June.

The high school and junior high school parking lots and the bus route will be re-configured to improve traffic flow and to minimize congestion on or near Old Linden Road. High school students will have three entry/exit points to help lessen congestion.

The high school will be the first set of buildings to receive weatherization through SFB including water sealing and painting building exteriors.

New LED lighting has been installed in the high school gymnasium. Beginning in July, the process of installing a new gym floor and air conditioning unit will begin. The project is expected to last from July-December. Contingency plans for team practice and games are being made and will be in place when school resumes in the fall.

Nikolaus Homestead Elementary – The grades 3-5 elementary school already has a newly remodeled, secure front entrance and vestibule. Buzz-in features controlled by the staff for entry into the front lobby and entry into the interior of the school are controlled by the staff. The wrought iron fence near the campus entrance will be replaced and locked so that visitors cannot access the school via the fence.

The playground has been moved to the exterior of the school for safety and security of students and staff.

A new visitor parking in front of the portable building (previously the playground) has been installed. It will not be accessible during school drop off and pick up times to increase student safety and to minimize congestion on east McNeil Street. The gates to the parking lot will be opened once school is in session.

The bus drop-off and pick-up areas will be moved to the interior of the school.

Air conditioning will be added following updating of the electrical system to accommodate the unit.

New classroom technology will include new, large screen televisions, Google Chromebooks and document cameras.

SFS weatherization projects including water sealing and painting all building exteriors are scheduled. Faulty windows will be replaced.

Linden Elementary – The K-5 elementary school west of Show Low was described by Housley as “probably the most open campus with access from SR 260.” All of those areas will be fenced and secured.

The parking lot off of School House Lane is being moved to the northeast side of the campus to improve traffic flow and to minimize cars and buses queuing up all the way out to the highway during school pick up and drop off times.

Air conditioning will be added to unconditioned areas, offices and/or classrooms.

New classroom technology will include new, large screen televisions, Google Chromebooks and document cameras.

The front office is being moved, remodeled and equipped with all of the buzz-in features and security enhancements being installed at every campus. In addition, the existing breezeway in the front of the school will be connected and secured with block walls to provide safe passage from the west building to the interior of the school. This will provide safe, covered passage for students and staff.

SFB projects to address drainage issues during inclement weather are being fixed. Faulty windows are being replaced and buildings may be water sealed and painted where needed.

Whipple Ranch Elementary – The K-2 elementary school’s front office and vestibule has already been remodeled to create a secure point of entry. There are actually three points of buzz-in entry before a person can access the interior of the school, according to Housley.

New classroom technology will include new, large screen televisions, Google Chromebooks and document cameras.

For added safety, student drop-off and pick-up areas will be moved to the interior of the campus. The bus drop-off and pick-up areas will also be moved to the interior of the school and routes will change to improve traffic flow.

Some SFB projects are already in process and will be completed this summer. The faulty roof will be replaced where needed.

Water seal and painting of exterior buildings will follow and may extend into the new school year. Replacement of faulty windows and any other exterior weatherization needed has been scheduled.

For detailed information about the bond projects including timelines and pictures, visit the district website at https://www.showlow.education/. From the Home page, go to the left margin and scroll down to Bond Information under the Quick Links heading. You can also call the district office at 928-537-6000.

Reach the reporter at lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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