Olentangy Valley News

New Shanahan bleachers highlight summer upgrades

Olentangy will limit spending to $1.1 million this summer to stretch 2011 levy

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Capital-improvements projects will get underway this month at Olentangy schools now that students and teachers are gone for summer vacation.

Projects getting the green light include the replacement of the bleachers at the Shanahan Middle School football field, fixes for water heaters at two schools, and plenty of paving.

The district will spend $148,000 to replace the bleachers at Shanahan Middle School. It's the oldest set of bleachers in the district, said district Business Director Jeff Gordon.

"We're finding that we're having to do repairs on them on a yearly basis," Gordon said.

He said the district takes on liability when it makes independent repairs, altering the original manufacturer's work.

Numerous paving projects also are scheduled, including resurfacing for three school parking lots.

The district will spend $458,000 on paving this year.

Additionally, repairs are scheduled for the hot-water tank at Hyatts Middle School, and a total tank replacement is planned for Indian Springs Elementary School.

Much-needed new lockers will be added at Orange High School to help free up crowded halls. It mirrors a project to add lockers at Liberty High School last year.

In all, the district will spend $1.1 million on capital improvements this summer. That's roughly equivalent to the 2012 improvements budget.

Next year, the district plans to spend just a bit more: about $1.2 million.

Gordon said Olentangy intentionally is limiting its capital-improvements plans to help stretch a levy, approved in May 2011, through fiscal year 2015.

"We're not spending as much as we probably could. We're limited by our budget," Gordon said.

It's the second consecutive summer with no new schools to build or other major construction projects to complete.

In summer 2011, the district opened two schools: Heritage Elementary School and Berkshire Middle School.

The district will oversee two privately funded construction projects this year: the installation of turf fields at Orange and Liberty high schools.

Both projects were spearheaded by booster groups and are funded 100 percent by private donations and loans.

The field at Orange will be completed by mid-July; the field at Liberty will be finished by August.

Representatives of the Olentangy High School football boosters are working to raise the necessary funds to have turf installed at their school as well.

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