Delaware City Schools building projects are on schedule

PAUL COMSTOCK
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Delaware City Schools' program to upgrade all its school buildings this year is on schedule despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"There have been a few delays with some manufacturers sending products and supplies because the pandemic has affected some of the supply chain items a little bit, but nothing is off schedule," said Jason Sherman, the district's director of facilities and transportation.

First in line for 2020 are additional space at Schultz Elementary School, 499 Applegate Lane; a 2-story addition at Dempsey Middle School, 599 Pennsylvania Ave.; and added space at the main entrance of Carlisle Elementary School, 746 W. Central Ave.

The size of additions for the schools are Schultz, 16,982 square feet; Dempsey, 29,101 square feet; and Carlisle, 2,186 square feet.

The project costs for each are set at $5.8 million at Dempsey, $4.8 million at Schultz at $1.7 million at Carlisle.

The district's construction projects that provide additional space are based on enrollment growth -- linked in part to new and anticipated residential construction -- which varies in different areas of the city, said district public-information officer Jennifer Ruhe.

"School funding is very complex, but our funding is based on the appraised value of the entire district, not individual schools" attendance areas, she said.

Money for this year's projects was provided by a "no-new-millage" bond issue voters approved in 2019. The district earlier said the issue's approval allowed the district to transfer payments from older, retiring bonds to the new bond issue.

Triad Architects in Columbus designed the building changes and selected the contractors, Ruhe said.

The Schultz project will create new space for 10 classrooms, a multipurpose art room and an expanded kitchen, Sherman said.

The new art room will allow an existing art room to be reconfigured for office space, he said.

A new bus loop will be added south of the building, allowing parents to use both the existing front lot and the current bus loop when they drop off and pick up students, he said.

Site work has started at Schultz, and work on the concrete foundation for the classroom addition is expected in the next several weeks.

Also underway are the new bus loop and work to improve stormwater drainage, Sherman said.

The city of Delaware has plans to construct, south of the school, a Penick Avenue extension to connect the Delaware Meadows subdivision, east of the school, with the Sunnyview Farms subdivision, west of the school.

When the school district bought the Dempsey property, it came with a 12,400-square-foot building, about 65 years old, that had been the headquarters of Greif Bros.

Sherman said the district will raze it and build an addition that will hold 13 new classrooms, a larger activity room and an orchestra practice room.

Work at Dempsey is expected to start in coming weeks, along with work on an athletics addition with restrooms and a concession area.

The addition at Carlisle is needed to accommodate a more-secure entrance to the school, district officials said.

When the work is completed, all district buildings will force visitors to enter an office area as a security measure, Ruhe said earlier. The work also will create space for an additional classroom.

Sherman said asbestos abatement has been completed in the older part of the Carlisle building, and work on the entrance is expected to start in several weeks.

When all of the projects are completed, Woodward and Conger elementary schools also will get additional space, and facility upgrades will occur at Hayes High School and Smith Elementary School.

Final plans and budgets are not yet set for those projects, Sherman said, but design planning has started for Woodward and Conger.

The district purchased and razed two houses next to Smith and three next to Conger, he said.

Options at Smith include additional playground and parking space.

More classroom space and relocating the playground are possibilities at Conger, Sherman added.

Work at Hayes includes improving the HVAC system, which would put air conditioning in the auxiliary gym for the first time, he said.

Roofing work also is planned at Hayes and Carlisle, he added.

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