By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools will have new air conditioning, classroom additions and phone system for the upcoming school year after updates were presented to the Board of Education during its Aug. 20 meeting.
DPS Trades & Labor Director Timothy Gruszczynski said the district is moving forward with the installation of air conditioning at McDonald and Snow elementary schools and Fordson High School.
“The schools we target first are determined by Individualized Education Program needs and the ease of the installation,” Gruszczynski said. “We’ll be ordering the equipment to have it produced and delivered for a quick install.”
McDonald will receive air conditioning at the media center, Snow has a need for air conditioning at a classroom used for the IEP and one at the Fordson rooftop to replace a 29-year-old unit that provides air conditioning to the music wing.
The district also will provide air conditioning at spaces inside DuVall, Howard, Lindbergh, Long, Lowery, Maples, Nowlin and Whitmore-Bolles elementary schools as labor becomes available, Gruszczynski said. He also said the DPS Infrastructure Committee is considering the long term air conditioning status for the district.
“It will definitely be appreciated next spring by staff,” Trustee Mary Lane said. “It’s just hard for students to be in school and have it be 80, 90 degrees and try to concentrate.”
The board also heard from DPS Technology Director Troy Patterson who informed the board that the district’s current phone system needed an upgrade due to its old age and new state regulation.
The district is using a phone system purchased as part of a 2003 bond and was last updated in 2011 because there is no longer support for the system.
“There is a new state law from Michigan called E-911 which says when 911 is called from a phone that 911 knows where that phone is within 7,000-square feet,” Patterson said. “So practically for us that is classroom by classroom. Right now we can report what building the phone call is coming from but not where.”
The district will have to bring the phone system up to state requirements by December 2019.
“Bringing in a new phone system will be the first step in meeting requirements,” Patterson said. “Putting phones in and maintaining two phone lines as we roll a new phone system out can start September and end in December if the recommendation is approved.”
During the meeting, Trustee Mary Petlichkoff gave an update from the DPS Building and Site Committee on the Dearborn High School construction.
“The Dearborn High kitchen renovation has been completed and awaiting approval by the state, the cafeteria expansion will be ready by October and the four classroom additions are expected to be finished in November,” she said.
Petlichkoff also said the project is over budget by $272,000 because of soil remediation and due to the state adding more fire regulations which required purchasing more steel for the cafeteria and classrooms construction.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])