From buses to roofs, the Olentangy Local School District plans to spend millions on permanent-improvement projects in 2018.
At the Olentangy school board's last meeting of 2017, the panel agreed to spend about $2.1 million on new buses and about $663,000 to fund roof-replacement projects at two of the district's elementary schools.
The board approved a purchase agreement with Rush Trucking for 20 standard school buses, at a cost of about $87,000 apiece, and four specially equipped buses for disabled passengers, at a cost of about $94,000 apiece.
The district will pay for the new buses -- some will replace outdated buses, while others will account for growth in enrollment -- with funds from a no-new-millage, $79 million bond issue passed by voters in 2016. While the vast majority of the funds from the bond issue were earmarked for the construction of Olentangy Berlin High School, about $10 million was available for other permanent-improvement projects.
The ballot issue approved by voters in 2016 also included a 1-mill permanent-improvement levy to fund upkeep projects at the district's 25 school buildings and other facilities.
According to district records, the district in 2018 intends to spend just shy of $3 million in bond funds and slightly more than $4 million in permanent-improvement levy funds for projects unrelated to the construction of Berlin High School.
The district will use a mix of funds from the bond issue and the permanent-improvement levy to pay for roof-replacement projects at Alum Creek and Scioto Ridge elementary schools. The school board in December gave its OK to move ahead with the projects, which will cost about $663,000.
Jeff Gordon, the district's director of business management and facilities, said the district saved money by scheduling concurrent projects at the two buildings, both of which were built around two decades ago.
"By bidding both buildings and moving those forward, we were able to get a $20,000 discount ... to do two buildings at once," he said.
Board member Dave King said the move to combine the projects shows district staff are trying to spend taxpayer dollars as wisely as possible.
"I do appreciate that (they're) paying attention to material and labor costs going up over time and that (they) ... combined the two roofing projects into one to gain savings," he said.
According to district records, the district this year intends to spend about $320,000 in funding from the permanent-improvement levy to relocate the tennis courts at Orange High School and $115,000 to replace the track at Shanahan Middle School. Gordon said district officials also wanted to undertake those projects at the same time because of the potential for savings.
"We felt again by combining that bid we would get better pricing on that project," he said.
Other notable permanent-improvement expenditures planned this year in the district include $1.9 million for technology-related projects, about $719,000 for asphalt and concrete replacement and around $82,000 for roof repairs at Liberty High School, according to district records.