Feb. 2, 2005 - It's a good thing work pants come with loops for hanging hammers. Construction crews at Catalina Foothills schools will be needing easy access to their tools for years to come.

An $18.8 million bond passed in November outlined some 160 projects at all of the district's 10 locations for the next five years or so.

The projects were broken into two parts and four categories in order to minimize impact to the taxpayers and the workers, said Director of Facilities John Sole.

The categories are: adding or expanding school facilities, energy-saving projects, renovating existing facilities, and improving sports facilities.

"No. 1, we can't physically do all of our projects at once," he said. "The second reason is because we've already got existing bonds from past projects that are still being paid off, we've arranged this program so that as the old bonds are being paid off, these bonds come on line, and there's no net change to our taxpayers to the tax rate."

In late December 2003, the schools were invited to submit wish lists for their facilities.

"The main question asked was, 'What is the educational benefit for the kids?'" said Mary Jo Conery, Ventana Vista Elementary School principal, of her interactions with Sole. "Not 'What would you like to have' and all of that. We had to look at what was really needed and what was the benefit to kids."

Downey and Sole refined the wish list and added a few more items of their own.

"Then we did a survey of our records, looking when air conditioners were last changed out, when roofs were last recoated or repaired," Soles added. "Roofs are a big issue here even though it doesn't rain very often. A lot of the roofs are flat or low-slope roofs, they tend to crack up."

The team also sought the advice of Stan Adams of Adams and Associates, an electrical engineer who determined the district could save energy by making certain modifications.

Those projects include installing more efficient lighting in all schools, which involves replacing fixtures as well as bulbs, as well as upgrading water heaters at all schools.

Last summer, the school board voted to go ahead with putting the bond issue up for vote and the issue passed in the November election.

The district worked with a Phoenix firm to work out the bond accounting for its projects, and it was up to Sole to figure out how to time the projects to eliminate disruptions to taxpayers.

Most projects are started during the summer, when school is out of session, Sole said. Following are the projects scheduled to begin in 2005 for each school:


Expansions to the school's nurse's office and music room are aimed at increasing student comfort and safety, according to Principal Chris Ahearn.

"In the nurse's office we have one bed, a counter, cabinets above that, we have a desk and a small bathroom there," he said. "And then if we have someone who's in the restroom who's sick, there's not a lot of privacy so again from the kid's point of view, we want to give them as much dignity and privacy as we can."

Minimizing exposure to contagious students and allowing space for the ever-increasing duties of school nurses have necessitated increased space to the eight-year-old facility, Ahearn said.

Additions to the band room will accommodate space for the school's steel drum band, he added.

Other 2005 projects include resealing the masonry (2005-09), repairing cabinets and counters, replacing telephone cabling and clocks, and renovating sports courts.


Improving the school's security system is a preventative measure that the school is making a priority with its 2005 bond projects, according to Principal Warner Van Vlack.

Relocating security monitors from the school's warehouse to its security office is one of the anticipated projects.

Other security measures: "Lighting needs to be added to the campus in some of the out-of-the-way areas and adding security cameras in locations where they don't exist now," Van Vlack said.

The campus has about 10 security cameras now, mostly external, and the district may consider adding interior cameras.

Recoring locks across the school and updating the electrical supply in the chemistry lab also are projects intended to begin in 2005.


€ Add a new science room.

€ Convert swamp coolers in multipurpose room to air conditioning units.

€ Replace air conditioning units.

€ Reseal masonry.

€ Repair cabinets and counters.

€ Improve drainage at library.

€ Replace multipurpose room floor.

€ Renovate sports and tennis courts.


Repairing the parking lot is the only project slated for 2005 at this school.


€ Replace instrument lockers and re-tile stage.

€ Reseal masonry (2005-2009).

€ Renovate bathrooms.

€ Renovate outdoor lighting.

€ Replace commons ceiling.

€ Replace door hardware.


Renovating the school's sports field is a necessity, said Principal Julie Sherrill, because "literally you cannot run on our field without risking life and limb."

"Our field, for whatever reason, is full of bumps," she said. "Part of what we asked for is to have that evened and reseeded so that it was a safe place for the kids to play."

Other 2005 projects are repairing and recoating roofs (2005-08) and resealing masonry.


Adding motorized screens to the school's multipurpose room will greatly increase the room's utility, according to Principal Mary Jo Conery.

"The entire roof of the multipurpose room is all skylights and … we have the equipment and screens and all of that to do multimedia presentations and daytime presentations, but unfortunately we're not able to use any of it," she said. "Any time we do anything during the day, especially with Arizona with even the sunlight hours after school, we are not able to use that facility in the manner in which it was set up for. We needed to have some kind of system on the roof so that we could darken the room."

The only other project scheduled for the school in 2005 is resealing its masonry.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.