Building repairs come at a high price, but local and state leaders are supportive


Edward J. Naughton

The facade of Mullinville High School which was damaged in March of this year by a storm.

Jonathan Clayton is a resident of Mullinville and also works for the Kansas Department of Commerce. He’s leading the charge in Mullinville to accomplish something very difficult very soon – complete the necessary funding approvals to eventually repair and renovate the old rural high school that has been an integral part of the Mullinville landscape for over 100 years. The building holds special memories for generations of Mullinville community residents and their families, including Clayton.

On September 29, the Town of Mullinville called a special meeting at Town Hall to brief the public on recent activities by the Mullinville Recreation Commission to fund repairs to the old high school damaged in a storm. earlier this year.

The building as it stands today was discussed at length by those in attendance as they considered the vision for its future use, current condition and ongoing concerns. The roof is still compromised in a state of disrepair since March 12, 2021, when a microburst or a strong downward wind destroyed the roof of the old Mullinville high school. This storm damage triggered the building to close, leading to the closure of the Old School Antique Mall. The building is owned by the Mullinville Recreation Commission.

Wind and rain insertions into the building continue to this day due to roof damage from the March storm. Dedicated volunteers work feverishly when the rain arrives to clean up the water entering the building and the mess, as quickly as possible and as soon as it does, even if they work in the middle of the night as frequently happens.

Probably the most important piece of this repair and remodel puzzle for the old Mullinville High School, which is courageously attempted by all concerned, is to submit a good application to the Kansas Department of Commerce for Small Cities Community Development Block. Grant (CDBG) Urgent Needs category funds on behalf of the Mullinville Recreation Commission.

Repair costs are estimated at $ 815,877 to complete. A grant is the only payment option. After the Town of Mullinville approved the continuation of the application, the grant required the hiring of an engineer to determine the scope of the work and estimate the repairs. The engineering firm said that in order to successfully repair the building and meet grant requirements, the scope of work is estimated to be over $ 815,000, as reported.

The Mullinville Community Foundation was formed in May 2021, following the storm of March 12, 2021, to raise funds for repairs to the high school.

In August 2021, the Mullinville Community Foundation applied to the USDA for a large grant totaling $ 738,000, of which the Rural Development RISE grant $ 132,000 is for the high school repair project.

In addition, the Patterson Family Foundation has committed $ 283,000 for the repair of the high school, although this approval is totally dependent on the final approval of all other grants.

These combined funds would provide the necessary counterpart to the state.

Once a decision is made, the Mullinville Community Foundation would then take any donations it collected and apply them to the needs of the project to complete the picture.

“Today, September 29, I received a notice that we have achieved 501-3c certification with the IRS for charitable contributions to the Mullinville Community Foundation,” Clayton said.

At the town meeting, open discussions were held freely by those present. City Council and members of the Mullinville Recreation Commission in attendance heard concerns about the frequency of clean-ups taking place at the old high school and now continuing as volunteers respond to rain and snow events. wind.

The volunteers themselves at the meeting are doing the necessary work now to keep the building as clean as possible and free of standing water. They were thanked for their constant dedication to unpaid duty.

Often after a rainstorm, volunteers come with floor cleaning materials, buckets and brooms in hand, as water entering the building with the ensuing mold growth harms the structure. .

The issue of sustainability was raised by Mullinville City Council Chairman Tom Daniels, who questioned the following problematic scenario that could develop and present a financial challenge to the city due to the high insurance costs at the rest of the construction – even if all the construction – wise went according to plan.

Daniels said that even though all grant applications are approved, donations are compiled, offers made, then rebuilding and repairs are finally done – this sustainability, especially given the high insurance costs, needs to be seriously considered. .

Daniels said he was in favor of whatever the Mullinville Recreation Commission is pushing for with this project, as are members of the city council and the Mayor of Mullinville as well, but he still dared that if the building is finally repaired and almost fully ready for potential tenants – would the Mullinville Recreation Commission or whoever was responsible for the maintenance and coverage of the building still be able to pay the monthly insurance bill that would follow its official opening?

As discussed at the meeting, the insurance costs according to local estimates would be at least $ 15,000 per month for the high school building after the repairs are completed, which should be covered against accidents or loss due to accidents. extreme weather conditions or other disaster.

“The winter season is coming soon and that’s obviously a concern,” Clayton said.

The expected aspects of construction and repairs are as follows:

– removal and disposal of the existing roof if necessary.

– gutter, downspout hangers and other materials.

– compromised interior materials.

– compromised bricks and copings.

– installation of new nailers, new purlin, bracing of the ceiling web.

– New roof decking of 1 “total depth.

– R30 insulation.

– blanket.

– conical insulation.

– new roofing membrane, flashing, gutter, downspout, downspout.

– reset the brick and the corresponding cap.

– architectural design.

– construction administration and inspection.

– grant administration and environmental review.

Clayton said the cost of professional mold removal would be high, up to $ 200,000 possibly, but he is hopeful that with the continued efforts of the volunteers who have given more than 400 documented volunteer hours to clean up and to carry out mold prevention measures. in their work, he remains optimistic that the cost of professional mold removal would likely be cut in half.

The Mullinville Community Foundation’s grant application of $ 738,000 included many other elements to help the community. One of the main needs that are still missing in and around Kiowa County is child care – to help ease that need, much of the grant application would help provide some form of child care in the old one. primary school.

In addition, the City of Mullinville-approved business incubator will offer incentives to potential tenants, including renovation reimbursements, free Wi-Fi for 3 years, cash registers and computers for its tenants. The grant also called for repairs to the primary school, including repairs to the roof and a new entrance door accessible to people with disabilities. Salaries were also taken into account for daycare positions and a building manager position, as well as open internet access, a shared workspace and a high school café. Haviland Telephone has undertaken to connect optical fiber to both buildings if the subsidies are realized.

Letters of support for the Mullinville Community Foundation grant were received from Governor Laura Kelly, Senator Jerry Moran and Senator Roger Marshall. U.S. 4th District Representative Ron Estes and Kiowa County Commissioners, as well as dozens of local community members and citizens across the county have expressed support for this important project.

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