HIAWATHA, Kan. – When P1 Group first made contact with the Hiawatha School District nearly two years ago, it was with the intention of helping the district reduce operating cost while improving school facilities. What P1 Group learned from this inquiry was that Hiawatha’s three primary school buildings were aging and the new superintendent was proactively searching for ways to lower the operational cost of their facilities.
Through a five year capital improvement master plan, P1 Group was able to diagnose the current school facilities’ weaknesses and estimate what resources would be required in the future. Onsite evaluations done by P1 Group also identified that safety and technology improvements were needed in order to maintain a productive learning environment for students. Many who worked within the school district on a daily basis such as teachers, staff, and board of education members were also involved in this process and provided valuable input on the state of the facilities.
Prior to the master plan done by P1 Group, the Hiawatha School District didn’t know their needs. They understood that they faced serious challenges with the costs of maintaining the facilities, but had no tangible strategy to successfully resolve these problems. Like many school districts in Kansas they were experiencing a reduction in their budget, which dictated constantly bandaging a facility failure instead of making long-term permanent repairs.
After the completion of the capital improvement master plan, it became apparent to the board of education that making a corrective action could not be accomplished through their existing budget. The master plan then became a valuable communication tool for educating the citizens of Hiawatha about why additional funding outside of the school budget would be required.
In April of 2015, the hard working and conservative community passed a $9.2 million bond with overwhelming support to make the necessary capital improvements to its three school buildings. Updates that P1 Group will be performing include; life safety, security (including video and keycard access), heating, cooling and control systems, plumbing, roofing, and lighting upgrades. With the help of these modifications, resources allocated to facility maintenance will be dramatically reduced so that the district can focus on what matters most; educating the kids.
Thanks to the leaders of the district and the hard work and commitment of P1 Group, Hiawatha’s legacy will live on for generations through the education and continued development of their community. Congratulations to the P1 Group team, Dana Dunn, Rusty Roderick, Michael Salmon, and Tim Mense who were responsible for bringing this project to fruition.