The administration of Colonel Crawford Schools hosted a community meeting on April 28, regarding its high school addition project and the maintenance levy on the May 6 ballot. Although the meeting turnout was low, it allowed Superintendent Todd Martin to review the facts.
The project will add a 15,817-square-foot high school wing onto the existing K-8 building. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission agreed to co-fund the $6.4 million project, reducing the local share to $31,014, which the school already has.
The 0.5 mill maintenance levy satisfies a state requirement that school districts must set aside funds to maintain any new buildings for a minimum of 23 years. If the levy passes, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.50 per year.
“Last November people said the ballot language was confusing,” Martin said, referring to the levy that was voted down in November’s election. That evening he showed the issue exactly as it will appear: “Colonel Crawford Local School District - An additional tax for the benefit of the Colonel Crawford Local School District for the purpose of general permanent improvements at a rate not exceeding 0.5 mill for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.05 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2014, first due in calendar year 2015.”
Martin noted a new gymnasium is not included in the project. The state only agreed to fund new construction for academic classrooms. Because voters turned down a separate levy in November to fund the construction of a gym, the district is not seeking those funds in May.
In total, the K-12 building was a $20.8 million project, with a local share of 69 percent, or $14.3 million. Over a decade ago, the district moved forward with constructing the K-8 building, and is now looking to complete the project.
Since then, student population has declined and the district was forced to significantly reduce the size of the high school wing, cutting out a new music room, art room and other amenities.
Still, Martin commented that through his talks with the OFCC, the state feels obligated to see the project through.
Despite the smaller version, the new wing will be constructed in the same area it was originally intended because the site was prepared that way (utility lines, drainage, etc.). There will be a space where a gymnasium could be built in the future.
When asked how the operating costs of the K-12 building will compare to the district’s current set up, Martin explained they are trying to incorporate energy efficiency into the plans to save on costs, especially electricity. They are also analyzing the chillers and boilers to see if they can accommodate the full K-12 building. By June, they should have hard figures on potential savings.
“At the current high school, we’re throwing money away,” he said, pointing out the heat loss from the old windows, roof leakage and other issues they deal with.
Included in the state funding is the abatement and demolition work of Colonel Crawford’s old buildings and a partial demo of the current high school.
Not included in the funding is what Martin called “buttoning up” the remaining portion of the high school. After the demolition, putting up a new exterior wall, rerouting utilities, etc. must be funded locally, an estimated cost of $330,000. Several years ago, the school board established a fund specifically for this.
Jeff Fullerman of Regency Construction (the owner agent for the pre-construction) was on hand that evening to go over further details.
He said the demolitions will be done in two phases. Phase 1 will be the three abandoned buildings: Whetstone Elementary, Sulphur Springs Elementary and North Robinson Junior High.
The buildings do contain asbestos and possibly other contaminants that need to be removed. Three environmental consulting firms were contacted and Gandee & Associates was selected. It began sampling the buildings earlier that day, to determine where the hazardous materials are. Fullerman expects the results in late May.
Bids for the abatements and demolitions will be bid out at the same time this July. A bid opening is scheduled for Aug. 5 and the contracts will be awarded around Aug. 18.
Once each abatement is complete, the demolition will begin immediately. Fullerman said they will be completed by the end of 2014.
Phase 2 is the partial demolition of the current high school (the west side of the building). It includes classrooms and the library. The side of the building containing the gymnasium and pool area, as well as the Industrial Arts work shop, cafeteria and some classrooms, will remain.
Gandee will collect samples this summer and the demolition is not expected to begin until summer of 2015. It will be bid around the same time as the high school addition.
Martin added that all of this is budgeted for $2.8 million; if the district does not move forward with the demos, that portion of the funding goes back to the state. Also, they have not decided what to do with the land those properties sit on. It will be a discussion for later on.
Board of Education business
The Colonel Crawford Board of Education held its monthly meeting afterward. It approved several items related to the project.
Squire Sanders was approved to provide legal services at an estimated cost of $20,000. Treasurer Vickey Stump said they may not spend the full amount. Gandee & Associates was approved to assist with pre-construction services, in the amount of $19,105. The superintendent was designated to review and approve field work orders and change orders for the project, up to $50,000.
Martin explained some things will need to be approved quickly as the project gets underway. This allows it to move along without waiting for board approval. The OFCC must also agree to any such orders.
Employment approvals were also given for next year’s certified staff, various coaches and some other personnel. The Board also accepted several retirement resignations that evening: Kristi Alexander, Jody Grove, Jean Schwenning, Susan Markley and Malorie Eckstein.
It approved the purchase of a swimming pool operating license from the Crawford County General Health District, in the amount of $425.32, and $600 in membership dues to the Crawford County Family and Children First Council.
In other business, Board member Margaret Hoyles commented that she watched Dave Sheldon, head coach of Crawford boy’s basketball, coach the OHSBCA All-Star game and was proud of him and senior Connor McCreary, who played in the game. The All-Star game was held April 27 at Ohio Dominican University.
The Board then went into executive session to consider the appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of a public employee or official. No further action was taken.