PAYETTE — With the 2020-21 school year in full swing, the Payette School District has managed to make several improvements at its facilities while planning for further work. Superintendent Robin Gilbert reviewed the progress made on the district’s to-do-list at the Board of Trustees’ regular meeting on Oct. 11.

With upgrades to fire alarm systems finished, Westside Elementary received its final occupancy permit on Sept. 18. Public address systems were also replaced, as were exterior classroom windows with energy-efficient ones.

“MaryBeth [Bennett, principal] has worked through a couple last-minute problems,” noted Gilbert. “If something comes up, [Beniton Construction have] been very responsive. Everything is currently functioning.”

One issue that was addressed was Westside’s bell system, which had an unspecified issue that crews said they had “never seen before,” said Gilbert. The system is now functioning normally, she said.

The district also replaced the asphalt surface of the tennis courts this summer at McCain Middle School, as well as refinishing the concrete surface at Payette Primary. Painting at the latter campus is to be finished this week.

At Payette High School, architects were on campus in the last few weeks to map out the upcoming installation of a new HVAC system for the dome.

“I haven’t heard anything from them in the last week or so,” admitted Gilbert. 

She noted, however, that ACCO Engineered Systems, the contractor responsible for the dome’s HVAC upgrade, has until Dec. 31 to complete the project under contract terms with the district.

In other Payette High facility topics, the board resumed its discussion about resurfacing the school’s parking lot. District estimates place the cost of repaving work upwards of $1.5 million, as stated by Gilbert last December.

A focus of this discussion is reorienting the student lot for new ingress and egress points.Trustee Candita Strong said she would be open to having a gravel surface for such.

“I’ve been to lots of schools recently; One of their entrances is really nice and the other is just kinda nice,” said Strong,  not naming the school. “It’s kept up, but it’s gravel. In the grand scheme of things, it would probably be better to have at least an entry and  an exit for games and stuff like that, compared to what we have now which is a mess.”

Board Chairman Adam Rynearson said he didn’t expect to look at the parking lot project this soon, but said this should be planned for as part of spending the public’s money “wisely.”

No action was taken on the parking lot issue during this meeting.

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