Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville school buildings see summer upgrades

Long slate of projects will total $3 million while students are on break this summer

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Half of the 30-year-old windows on Hanby Magnet School have been replaced with new ones meant to be more in line with the windows that originally would have been on the historical building.

The improvement is one of the most visible of the $3 million the district will spend this year to upgrade and upkeep its buildings. Many of those improvements will be taking place over the summer months.

The improvements are funded through the district's capital-improvements levy and are outlined in the district's capital-improvement plan.

At Hanby, the windows were due to be replaced, said district Business Operations Services Executive Director Jeff LeRose.

The school falls within the city's Uptown district, requiring special approvals, LeRose said.

The windows chosen in accordance with those guidelines, which encourage buildings to retain or restore their original character, were picked to match windows in old photos of the building from the Westerville Public Library's archives, LeRose said.

The new windows also will provide the building with more natural light, as windows will be reinstalled in their original positions, LeRose said. Previously, aluminum panels had replaced windows.

The Hanby window replacement project will cost $258,000.

Another major project for the district this summer involves adding four classrooms to the Early Learning Center.

When the Early Learning Center opened two years ago, it had eight classrooms plus an art room. Plans also were in place to add four classrooms as space became available within the building that houses the Early Learning Center and the district's administrative offices, LeRose said.

The expansion will allow the district to locate all of its preschool classes in one location.

The expansion will cost $588,000.

As the district undergoes the usual paving and repair projects for the summer, the precast stone facade at Hanby Elementary School, which was falling off, will be replaced, as will a brick retaining wall at Emerson Magnet School, which was starting to shift.

Several schools also will see ceiling replacements and paint upgrades, and the original door hardware at Westerville South High School will be replaced.

The total cost of those projects will be $1.2 million.

The district will spend $80,500 to convert the fluorescent lighting tubes at seven buildings. The tubes currently being used have been discontinued.

The district has gradually been replacing them in buildings, LeRose said, and administrators have calculated that with the savings the district sees through increased energy efficiency means the cost of the bulbs will be recovered in two to three years.

A restroom at Westerville North will see improvements to increase accessibility for students with disabilities, LeRose said.

The $24,000 improvement stems from feedback the district received from the special education department on what could be done at the building level to better serve students with disabilities, LeRose said.

As part of this year's capital-improvement projects, the district also spent $479,000 to replace the press boxes at the North and South football fields.

The new press boxes already have been installed, LeRose said.

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