West Side News

Board updated on elementary school projects

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The first phase of improvement projects at Darby Woods and Buckeye Woods elementary schools should be finished by Sept. 17.

That was among the updates presented to the South-Western Board of Education June 26 by Tony Schorr of Schorr Architects.

Work at the two schools is part of an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project that also includes construction of new buildings to replace 13 elementary schools.

Work on the first phase of improvements at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods began June 3.

The phase 1 work at both schools includes partial roof replacement, replacing gym lighting, the fire alarm system and the electrical power conditioner at the tech control room and installation of a new generator and related panel boards and transformers, cooling unit at the control room and new roof drains and related piping.

A new chiller will also be installed at Buckeye Woods only.

The total cost of the projects is $1.1 million at each building, Schorr said.

The roof replacement at Buckeye Woods is about 25 percent complete and electrical work is about 5 percent done, he said. At Darby Woods, the roof replacement is about 50 percent complete and ahead of schedule.

Additional projects, expected to cost about $2.5 million at each school, are planned for summer 2014, Schorr said. The proposed schedule calls for the board to award bids for the second phase at its Dec. 9 meeting and for work to begin June 2, 2014 and be completed by Aug. 22, 2014.

A third phase of renovations at the two elementary schools is planned for summer 2015.

Construction has begun at the four elementary buildings -- Alton Hall, Harmon, Monterey and Prairie Norton -- included in the first phase of the OFCC project.

"Dirt is flying" at the sites, said Mike Dingeldein of SHP Lead Design.

Groundbreakings for the second-phase buildings, which include Darbydale, J.C. Sommer, Stiles, a new building to house students from Finland and East Franklin elementary schools and a replacement building for North Franklin Elementary, are expected to be held in spring 2014, he said.

The new building to replace North Franklin will be constructed on a site on Holt Road across from Holt Crossing Intermediate School. A name for the school building is to be determined.

Looking ahead, the Stiles project will be complicated because a drainage ditch at the back of the site has forced moving the location of the new building to the south, he said.

That will move its location a little into the footprint of the current school building, Dingeldein said.

It may be that students in five classrooms will have to be moved from Stiles during construction, Superintendent Bill Wise said.

One option being looked at is moving an entire grade level from Stiles to either Prairie Lincoln or Prairie Norton schools during the construction period, he said.

That decision will have to be made before the end of the upcoming school year, he said.

The third phase of the project will involve constructing new buildings for Highland Park, West Franklin, Prairie Lincoln and Richard Avenue schools.

Students from West Franklin, Prairie Lincoln and Richard Avenue schools will attend class at the old Harmon building, old Prairie Norton and old Monterey, respectively, while their new buildings are constructed.

Testing revealed the topography of the Highland Park site would not allow another building to be built in a different location on that site, so the new Highland Park school will be constructed on the current building's footprint.

A swing space for Highland Park students will need to be determined, Dingeldein said.

Several options are being considered, including using module classrooms on the site or temporarily moving students to other schools.

Each option has pros and cons, Dingeldein said.

Another construction update is scheduled to be given at the board's Oct. 28 meeting and a recommendation regarding Highland could be ready at that time, Wise said.

In an issue related to the OFCC project, the district has begun a process to determine what, if any, boundary changes will be needed with the construction of the new schools.

The district has sought input from the community and a focus group, Wise said.

The top priorities mentioned include keeping neighborhoods together, minimizing student movement and achieving a socio-economic balance, he said.

Neighborhood and building meetings will be held in September and October and a draft plan is expected to be completed in November, Wise said.

Community feedback will be gathered in December and January. Any resulting adjustments to the boundary proposals will be made before a final plan to presented to the board at its Feb. 14, 2014 meeting, he said.

By board directive, the possibility of starting all-day every-day kindergarten in the district will also be considered, Wise said.

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