Westerville News & Public Opinion

School district capital improvements

Big slate of summer work 'on time, under budget'

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Summer capital improvement jobs across the Westerville City School District were completed on time and under budget, district officials report.

The district budgeted $4.5 million of work this summer to fix and update facilities. Though contractors are still closing out projects, district Facilities and Operations Director Jeff LeRose said the projects were completed for less than estimated.

Construction crews quickly worked in 10 weeks to complete all projects by deadline, which was prior to teachers returning to the buildings Aug. 11.

"On time and under budget are a great places to be," LeRose said.

Students are back in the buildings, but final finishing touches still need to be completed. District staff will evaluate the work and create a checklist for contractors, who have 30 days to finish the work prior to final payments.

At that point, LeRose said he will have a final tally of how much all the work cost, but preliminary reports say the district is simply "under budget."

Projects at Westerville South High School finished very close to deadline, but were completed enough to allow occupancy in the building. One caveat: South was to receive new windows this summer, but the windows have yet to be delivered.

Temporary glass windows were installed until the new ones arrive. LeRose expects the new windows to come mid-September.

South also underwent kitchen updates that included new counters and food service equipment. The new equipment arrived later than scheduled, causing crews to work over the weekend to get everything set up before school started.

Blendon Middle School and Annehurst Elementary School also received kitchen upgrades with similar updates to counters and food service equipment.

The district's food service department budget paid for the new kitchen work, LeRose said. The total work was done by contractor 2K General Co. and budgeted for $472,500.

The district will receive some money back after its third phase of lighting replacements at Mark Twain Elementary School, McVay Elementary School, Robert Frost Elementary School, Blendon and Heritage middle schools.

By switching from T-12 fluorescent light bulbs to T-8, the district will receive $62,062 from the city in rebates.

This year's savings is larger than the past two years. The district received $49,051 from the city last year and $24,980 from American Electric Power the year before that, in the first two phases of light replacements.

Building administrators have been pleased with the summer's work, LeRose said.

He said he's received messages from administrators with comments admiring the work.

"The feedback, whether email or verbal, has been overwhelmingly positive," he said. "With a 10-week window, there is no room for error."

Additional work this summer included:

• Track renovations at Westerville Central High School.

• A new music wing at South. Crews eliminated three small rooms to create one large space for the orchestra. South's auditorium also received a new sound system.

• Partial roof replacement at Hanby, Mark Twain and Robert Frost elementary schools. Hanby also received some masonry repairs.

• New lockers at Blendon, Walnut Spring, and Heritage and replacement lockers at South and Westerville North High School.

• Partial HVAC replacement at Hawthorne Elementary School and Blendon.

• A new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant restroom and new floors at Walnut Springs.

• Exterior door replacements at Emerson Elementary School, Hanby and South.

• Repaving work across the district to repair winter damage to parking lots and streets.

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