Sound, lights for Purdy performing arts center chosen

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

School board makes storm shelter changes, buys iPads

Purdy school board members reviewed progress on the new storm shelter and performing arts center as well as purchased new technology equipment for lower grades during their May meeting.

As interior work takes center stage in the new performing arts center, Superintendent Steven Chancellor reviewed how the district separated the audio-visual and lightning components from the general contract to offer more control over the final product. Those jobs went out to bid separately. At Chancellor’s recommendation, the board hired Kansas City Audio and Visual for the project at $124,193.07. Chancellor had positive experiences with the firm while working for the Belton school district.

The design for the sound system relies on two seven-foot towers of JDL speakers on each side of the stage. To avoid bouncing sound, the auto-balance feature will adjust the volume and resonance, factoring in the number of people in the hall.

“We’ll still have switches and a sound board,” Chancellor said. “We’ll have a big projection screen in the back. We thought of staggering TVs around the room. That wouldn’t work like this does. They tested on in a church in Lee’s Summit and it works.”

Stage lights will work separately. Chancellor said this system will allow the district to write software so lights can be adjusted remotely from an iPad within the room, giving a play director, for example, more flexibility. The system also has an auto-correct option.

The price matched expectations. The result, Chancellor said, will give the district a system “one notch above the middle” and room to upgrade over time by adding on, rather than tearing out to replace. At the request of board members, Chancellor said he would ask whether the district needed more microphones and how they would plug in. He understood the district had six portable directional mikes presently and might need more for some play productions.

Board members were less certain how to proceed with a drain problem that surfaced. General contractor R.E. Smith found a storm drain cut out for the preschool was “way too low” and would result in water pooling. The contractor repositioned the drain higher so that it would work properly, then asked permission for the additional price of $3,157.

Chancellor said the correction, done at the time, saved the district money, but it was not clear whose fault the problem was. Federal engineers specified putting in the drain at grade level, but the district’s engineer with Parrigon Architecture and the contractor did not double check the decision before proceeding. Board members voted to split the cost of the correction with the general contractor.

On a second change order, the addition of a fire pump prompted the need to change a fire rating. The cost for a more fire resistant door and hardware between the pump and the adjacent room cost an additional $4,202, which board members approved.

In other purchases, the board agreed to buy 40 iPads for $23,650. These would replace older devices handed down to kindergarten through second grade used for diagnostic testing and reading. Chancellor explained the district had approximately $24,000 in Title 1 funds left for the year which would be lost if not spent. The district has 10 to 12 devices in each classroom for small group activities. The newer units could be used as listening centers and “books on tape” presentations that highlight specific words.

“These will help us cycle out the original iPads that can’t be controlled remotely,” Chancellor said.

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