STANTON — The Central Montcalm Board of Education agreed the campus needed some parking lot renovations.
But it took an hour of discussion to decide how to do it.
At a meeting last week, the board looked at a proposal from B&E Coating Services of Blanchard and also heard about the possibility of piggybacking with the Road Commission for Montcalm County.
“We did submit a bid for filling cracks, repairing potholes and two coats of sealant and striping all lots,” said John Ekholm of B&E Coating, “The Duraseal product we use makes a good durable surface. We can get it done in one week at the most and have it done before school starts and you don’t have to worry about it.”
Road Commission Manager-Superintendent Mark Christensen explained how neither he or the Road Commission would profit from working with the school district.
“I don’t discredit your product or your process at all,” Christensen said to Ekholm and his co-worker Brad Anderson. “It just makes sense for the board to look into partnering with other agencies. We use the same kinds of products you do, but it is not an apples to apples comparison. We don’t want to hurt our local vendors but are only offering our services. If you choose to go with them, that’s fine with me, too.”
Central Montcalm’s Transportation Supervisor Val Conklin explained how the Road Commission would secure the product, but school employees would be doing the work.
“Other things have come up that we did not budget for, and if we go with our original plan, it will seriously cut into our budget,” said Conklin of the $81,800 price tag for B&E. “There would not be much left for the rest of the year.”
Curb work will begin today and other repairs could also begin immediately, according to Superintendent Kristi Teall, with the plan to begin on the west side near the Upper Elementary working west toward the bus garage, middle school and high school.
“We know we must fix the cracks, and it may not look as pretty if we do it ourselves, but I’m not sure we can afford to take that much out of our budget,” said Board Vice President Bill Simpson.
“I don’t think we can afford not to do it,” countered School Board President Doug Bowen.
More discussion ensued about warranties on products and services, what work must be completed now and what could wait until the budget was more favorable, and what parking areas are the worse for cracks, holes and striping.
“No matter which we go, there will be community members who criticize,” said Board Treasurer Mike Barnwell. “But I would rather see it done and see it done right.”
Board Trustee Mark Grossbauer asked Anderson and Ekholm if the board opted to go with their company, was there any way they could lower their costs?
Anderson agreed to drop the tab to $80,000, in which his crew would do a sweeping of the entire parking lot, filling in cracks and potholes, two coats of top coating and striping, along with providing additional asphalt to match curbing at one of the worse spots near the campus entrance.
The school board, with Roxanne Switzer and Bill Collins absent, agreed in a 5-0 vote to award the work to B&E Coating.
“Either option the board chose would have been a good solution,” said Teall following the meeting.
Both Teall and Conklin agreed there will be some issues to work out with sports practices and securing safe parking for students who will need to be on campus during the parking lot renovations.