By Tom Tolen /

Meeting in regular session Monday night, the Brighton Board of Education approved several contracts in relation to the $59 million school bond issue passed by the voters in 2019.

The board approved a contract for STEAM Center equipment totaling slightly under $235,000 for a gantry router, two lathes and a knee mill for the CNC lab. The purchases will be funded by contingency funds, which includes savings from other parts of the STEAM Center. The bond-facilities subcommittee recommended the approvals and the vote to approve them was unanimous. STEAM is an acronym which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

Superintendent Outlaw has said the STEAM Center will allow the Brighton Area Schools to provide students in the program an advantage over the competition in critical areas of the information and technology-based economy. Careers in STEAM and STEM are expected to grow 8% by 2029, compared with just 3.7% for all occupations.

The Board also approved a package of trade contracts for work to be completed this summer, including STEAM renovations in the lower grade level buildings, and repaving at multiple sites throughout the district. The proposed contract for electrical work related to the renovations was taken out of the motion since it included installing electric car charging stations and there were too many uncertainties regarding who would be responsible for overseeing the chargers, how much to charge for using them, would they be a revenue producer for the district and other issues.

The board also approved spending up to $279,000 to install new boiler units at Maltby Intermediate School and repair three exhaust units over the Brighton High School cafeteria. While most older boilers in the district have been replaced in the past 10 years, the boilers at Maltby have not been, and are now obsolete. As a result, workers have had to cannibalize parts from retired boilers from other district schools.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Michael Engelter, the items have been added to the general fund budget because of the immediate need. The district solicited bids and the low bid of $196,100 for the boilers was approved for CSM Mechanical of Fenton, to be added to the cost of just under $90,000 for the exhaust units at the high school.

The board also approved technology purchases totaling approximately $146,000 for 82 iMac computers for the graphics labs at Brighton High School and Scranton Middle School. They will replace computers which are up to 10 years old and therefore technologically outmoded.