WATERLOO -- With the exception of a no vote by Area One director Karen Stangler, the Waterloo School Board approved the placement of a fire hydrant on Waterloo School District property to allow for the issuance of a building permit to continue with the district's construction and facilities upgrade project during Monday's regular school board meeting.
It was recently brought to the attention of the Waterloo School District that the placement of a fire hydrant would be necessary before the Waterloo Fire Department would sign off on the building permit approval.
Three engineering firm designed maps were presented to the board with the most feasible map showing a water line coming off of Monroe Street and going to the corner of the existing Waterloo Community Swimming Pool at a cost of approximately $50,000. The district would be responsible for the installation costs and the maintenance and upkeep of the fire hydrant as it will be located on school property.
"The problem with all of that is that was never in our project from the start. We did meet all the state codes and all the municipal codes and statutes. This is something because of the process that the different departments have to sign off on the building permit. The fire department, as we move closer, feels that it is necessary for us to have this for the project," said Waterloo School District Administrator Brian Henning in regards to the fire hydrant requirement.
Henning noted that the Waterloo School District has a good working relationship with the Waterloo Fire Department and the difficulty with the required hydrant placement is finding the dollars to pay for it when it was not included in the original project budget.
The district's standard building permit cannot be issued until the fire hydrant requirement has been fulfilled. Currently the district has an "early" site permit which allows the footing and foundation of the construction project to take place, but no further work can take place until the standard building permit is approved.
Henning estimates that within the next couple of weeks further construction will begin to take place and without the standard building permit, delays with contractors could ultimately delay the construction and facilities upgrade project schedule.
Area Four clerk Deb Stein questioned why, after years of construction and upgrade planning, the fire hydrant requirement has suddenly surfaced.
"There's some blame for the school. There's some blame for the city. There's some blame for the fire department. There's not an entire process in place to discuss these types of things," Henning said, noting the architects and engineers have met all the state codes and statutes and the delay in obtaining the building permit is due to the Waterloo Fire Department's approval and not the city of Waterloo's approval.
Kraemer Brothers of Plain is heading the construction management services for the construction and facilities project and has met with the Waterloo Fire Department several times regarding the fire hydrant requirement.
Area Two director Gene Kegler expressed his concerns with the fire hydrant requirement as the district voters did not vote for a fire hydrant, they voted for new buildings and building upgrades.
"We held public informational meetings in our multipurpose room with multiple drawings. Everybody knew about it. Anybody who is a volunteer fire department person in our community knew that this would be something that they would want to look at. I don't think that we were withholding information or withholding things that should have been taken into consideration over a year ago. I'm not really sure where the fault (lies) on our part in this situation," said Area Three president Bobbi Forman. "There were a lot of engineers and a lot of architects on this project and this situation is not required by any state code."
Forman also notes that all the district's meetings, including special meeting and community gatherings, are publicized and that all community members are invited to attend all the meetings.
"We have a highly paid, high-ranking official -- not city government -- that did not attend any of those opportunities to bring this to light to our project. I would be concerned about that and I am concerned about that," Forman said, noting that the Waterloo School District is one of the largest square footage entities in the Waterloo Fire Department's jurisdiction.
"We pass this, we go ahead and we get to bid day. Let's say worst case scenario without even any of the alternatives we're over (budget). Do we need to then decide for sure if we are going to the fund balance or do we look at other things at that point?" said Area Three vice president Nancy Thompson.
Henning explained there are contingency dollars available, but some of those dollars have already been used for some utility issues that the district was unaware of when construction began.
"There are multiple ways to work it, it's just you're taking from one to pay another," Henning said.
"I guess we really don't have a choice here. We're going to have to live with it," Kegler said prior to the fire hydrant requirement approval. "We can only spend so much money and not a dime more."
In other business, the board:
-- Approved the resignations of Mary Kuckkan, high school English teacher, and Irene Pawlisch, food service director.
-- Approved the hiring of Charlene Ulichny, choral teacher; Christina Mabra, prekindergarten through eighth-grade guidance teacher; Bethany Kelly, early childhood special education/prekindergarten teacher; Susan Gould, fitness instructor; and Natalie Marthaler, Quinnly Hush and Dylan Bostwick, Waterloo Community Pool lifeguards/fitness center attendants.
-- Approved the 2019-20 Waterloo School District lunch prices.
The elementary school breakfast is $1.35 and the intermediate-middle school and high school breakfast is $1.70. The elementary school lunch is $2.50, the intermediate-middle school lunch is $2.90, the high school lunch is $3 and the adult lunch is $3.65. An entrée only is $2.50 and an extra entrée price is $1.50. Milk prices for all grade levels are 30 cents.
-- Heard a student equity presentation by Waterloo High School student Angel Samaniego.