Rocky Fork Enterprise

Board looks to prioritize district buildings' needs

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The Gahanna-Jefferson schools are being analyzed to prioritize capital improvement needs.

The school board on March 13 approved a consulting contract with Columbus-based SHP Leading Design to assist with a five-year facility capital improvement plan at a cost not to exceed $10,000.

Superintendent Francis Scruci said principals should expect evaluators walking through their buildings this week for assessment.

A series of meetings with building administrators, athletics directors and key maintenance staff members will begin immediately, Jerry Dirr, SHP principal, said in a letter to Scruci. He said his staff members would perform on-site reviews where needed, addressing the issues presented from school staff members and others.

Dirr said the prioritization process would begin by identifying issues of health, safety and protection of facilities and their contents.

Scruci said the district's most immediate needs would be prioritized.

When the cost of renovating a school building exceeds two-thirds of the cost to replace a building, the policy of the Ohio School Facilities Commission is to replace the building. The commission retains the ability to approve renovations that cost in excess of two-thirds of the cost of replacing the building if it is demonstrated to the commission that the building has special historical value or for some other good cause.

During a March 6 workshop, he said,seven buildings were over the two-thirds replacement mark, a measure of the OSFC.

Scruci said he doesn't anticipate a report back from SHP until the May board meeting.

In other board discussion, student council president Hannah Kesig reported that the high school raised $21,753 at the GahannaThon.

"I'd like to thank the community and board," she said. "We're the leading high school dance marathon for BuckeyeThon. They're using us as a model for others."

Scruci said March 11 was a great opportunity with student achievement.

"I was at the high school and watched 400-plus students qualify for academic awards," he said. "There were 125 seniors who qualified for awards, and 68 of those received awards for four consecutive years."

He said the district also is prepared to move forward with an online school in an attempt to bring back some of the 191 students who are using online options.

"That would bring some state funding back to our district," he said. "If we could bring some of them back, it gives us an option for credit recovery."

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