MANKATO — This time of year, everybody’s got a wish list, and area schools are no exception.
Included in a rather thick, 181-page five-year facility improvement plan packet for Mankato Area Public Schools, there are proposals for projects ranging from a few hundred dollars to $6 million.
But Supt. Sheri Allen and School Board members don’t work for Santa, so choices have to be made on what projects are top priority. And with those decisions made, the board held a public forum during Tuesday’s meeting to allow community members to offer input.
No one did. But East High School girls tennis coach John Romberg had a few comments to make earlier in the day. After all, new tennis courts at East and West made the cut for this year’s recommendations, and they’re a big ticket item at about $290,000. (But Allen said grants from the national and regional United States Tennis Association will take care of about 25 percent of the cost.)
“It definitely needed to move forward,” Romberg said. “It was long overdue.”
The seven courts at East have cracks, worn areas, dips and settling issues, he said. Dips in the surface made it difficult to squeegee dry after rain, so heavy puddling and dirt accumulation created issues for players’ footing and traction.
“One of the courts has significant sloping,” Romberg added. “It definitely has an affect on the play of the ball.”
The seven courts at West are in tough shape too, he said.
Jerry Kolander, director of business affairs for the district, said the five-year facility improvement plan outlines “new purchases,” such as building renovation projects, technology and textbooks, which comes to about $3.5 million for 2013-14, and is funded by capital fund revenue sources. The plan also outlines five-year deferred maintenance projects, such as blacktopping and handicapped accessibility, totaling about $1.9 million for 2013-14, and is funded by a deferred maintenance levy as well as reserve funds.