Rather than launch new construction over the summer break, Pickerington Local School District officials are working to maintain and repair facilities throughout the district.
While most students enjoy a reprieve from classes and homework during the summer, the business of maintaining and improving school curriculum and facilities is a year-round endeavor.
With respect to the latter, district officials said they aren't embarking on any large-scale construction or rebuilds this summer break.
"Our projects this summer are largely of the 'ongoing-maintenance-and-repair' variety," said David Ball, the district's public relations director.
The upkeep is in line with statements former district Superintendent Valerie Browning-Thompson, who retired following the 2016-17 school year, made after Issue 7 was defeated May 2.
Nearly 65 percent of voters opposed the measure, which was a 3-mill permanent improvement levy district officials sought to generate a permanent revenue stream of approximately $3.6 million annually for maintenance and upgrades, including safety and security features, for buildings and athletics facilities.
Had Issue 7 passed, among projects the district sought to take on were $22.7 million in school buildings and grounds improvements, such as roofing, paving, painting, carpeting and technology projects, district officials identified as being needed over the next 10 to 15 years.
The revenue also was expected to be used for such projects as the construction of a new stadium with artificial turf and an eight-lane track at Pickerington High School Central and the installation of artificial turf and other improvements in the Pickerington High School North stadium.
After Issue 7 failed, however, Browning-Thompson said it would result in the district continuing to use a portion of the district's general operating funds -- which finances items like teachers' salaries, instructional and pupil support, technology and transportation -- for capital projects.
Over the last several years, the district has spent an average of $1 million in operating funds each year for capital projects.
"This levy was about allowing us to more effectively plan for the future, invest in our schools and community and protect the community's existing investment for generations to come," Browning-Thompson said in May.
"Of course, this continued annual siphon from operating funds to pay for capital projects will eventually be felt in the classroom, in that it diminishes the amount of funds we have for day-to-day operations."
Currently, there are no plans to place a new levy for capital improvements on the November ballot, Ball said.
He said the biggest project the district currently has underway is parking lot paving at Tussing Elementary School, Toll Gate Elementary and Middle School, Ridgeview Junior High School and Pickerington High School Central.
"(The work) should be roughly $500,000," Ball said. "Asphalt is always a major part of our ongoing capital program.
"Of course, we have about 2.6 million square feet of pavement throughout the district, so we work to spread the paving work out over many years.
This kind of ongoing maintenance is critical to ensure the district doesn't allow deferred projects to cost us more money down the road."
Ball said the district also is spending about $25,000 this summer to continue efforts to enhance safety and security by "adding and upgrading cameras and servers within almost all buildings."
"This should provide more coverage and better quality images in our videos," he said.
Additionally, approximately $40,000 will be spent for painting and carpet replacement throughout the district, and about $150,000 will be used for repairs and updates to heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in school buildings.
"For the time being, we do not anticipate needing to make major changes to the kinds of maintenance and repairs we are doing as a result the May levy (failure)," Ball said.
"We will still protect the community's existing investment in buildings and facilities, we just have to continue our past practice of drawing money from the funds that pay for things like salaries, computers, student support and day-to-day operations to pay for those capital projects."