• Article Image Alt Text

Edna ISD gets campus assessments

By Michael Brooks Staff Writer     At the recent Edna ISD school board meeting Robert Jolly of Gallagher Construction presented a Facility Assessment Report to members of the board. According to the assessment report, Edna Elementary, Junior High, and High School all received ‘honor roll’ grades, with only a few small renovations needed. However, the Edna Alternative School received less than favorable grades in some areas, including a recommendation to renovate or demolish the cafeteria and gym.     

“We are a construction firm that does general evaluation of facilities,” said Steve Risser, director of business development for Gallagher Construction. “We do it quite frequently for school districts. We work all over Texas.We help evaluate the facilities as they come up with potential budget items. If they determine they want to spend a certain amount to fix something then we can provide them with info they can use going forward.     

“We offer the school a recommendation only on things they may consider renovating or repairing,” said Risser.     

This assessment was something new for the Edna school board who recently made the decision to get the third-party assessment.   

 “This is the first time they have done the assessment,” said Edna ISD Superintendent Robert O’Connor. “It is a free service they provide to get their name out there. They come through to get another set of eyes to see if they see things we don’t see or something that needs to be addressed and put together in a report. It gives us a facility maintenance list of possible things coming up, an idea of things to keep an eye on or look to address in the future. We are trying to stay ahead of the curve.”     

Jolly started his review with Edna Elementary School. He pointed out a few power supply concerns, noting addition outlets  could help avoid overloaded power strip cords. He also mentioned a couple of areas that could use an American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant upgrade.     

Moving outside, Jolly recommended possibly adding a canopy over the playground equipment. He said his company has research that shows kids will use the equipment more if it is not sitting directly in the hot sun.     

The last item Jolly addressed was the exterior drainage.     

“Overall Edna Elementary is in very very good condition,” Jolly said concluding his assessment on the Elementary School.     

The Edna Junior High was also accessed to have minor issues. Jolly pointed out items such as cracked drywall and wet ceiling tile, as well as general maintenance on some door frames, such as in the band hall where, for example, the frames had been hit by students carrying instruments in large cases. He also pointed out a few areas that were not ADA compliant and recommended a full shower in the science lab instead of just an eyewash station.     

In addition, the assessment showed slides of the library and mentioned he was very impressed with the way it looked.     

But drainage issues also topped the list for the campus exterior. Jolly commented that drainage issues was the worst area in his review of the junior high. But, overall, Jolly said the junior high was in good shape.     

The high school also received an overall good grade. Jolly said the library is not ADA compliant. In the computer labs, he again pointed out the power supply issue. In the Ag building, he complimented the ventilation system in part of the ag building but said ventilation is needed in the wood shop section of the building. Once again, Jolly pointed to exterior drainage as the most pressing need.     

The final item and most notable issues of concern in the assessment report were about the Edna Alternative School.     

“This is the biggest area of concern,” Jolly said.     

He said the buildings are not ADA compliant, renovations need to be done, the roof needs replaced, there are exterior drainage issues, and he recommended the gym and cafeteria be demolished or at least renovated.     

“We aren’t doing anything like that (demolishing or renovating),” O’Connor said. “We’re just looking at possibilities. We have cleaned that cafeteria out and it serves as kind of a warehouse now. It’s where we keep surplus tables, chairs, equipment that doesn’t get used and takes up room on the campuses. That is where it gets set out of the weather. It could use some beautification, but right now it is serving the purpose we need it for.”     

The thought of demolishing buildings at a school may seem over the top but Gallagher is well versed in the numbers.          

“We go through a cost index analysis that would determine the cost of renovating to get everything up to code against starting over,” Risser said. “If the cost is around 50 to 60 percent of what it would cost to build a new one, that is generally when school boards will start to consider demolishing and rebuilding.     

“We are not an advocate of tearing anything down. There are a lot of questions to ask. We want the board to make a very well informed decision so we help arm them with as much information as they can have.”     

O’Connor also said the drainage issue was something the school board was already looking into fixing.     

“We actually have some people giving us some numbers, mostly at the elementary because anybody that drives by there after a big rain, can see that it looks like an island in a lake,” O’Connor said. “We are trying to get that water a little further away from the building.     

“It’s Edna so there is no elevation,” added O’Connor. “You’re not going to get it to drain completely, you want to get it to drain to a spot that you’re okay with it standing there for while. As long as that is away from the building and off the playground, you’re okay. That is what the front part of the elementary is really, a big retention pond. That water is supposed to run toward the high school but it is a slow process.”

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957