Thursday, February 14th, 2008
By Janie Southard
Construction could save $1.5 million
  ST. MARYS - It's possible the $55 million new school construction project will be ready for classes a year earlier than expected, which could save the district about $1.5 million. Completion is being targeted toward the start of the 2010-11 school year.
"But, there are about a thousand decisions along the way that could cause us to move (the completion date) back to school start of 2011," Construction Manager Bob Sewell of Gilbane Building Company, Columbus, told school board members at a meeting Wednesday night.
It's both big and small things that have impact on dates, for instance, completion of the building design as well as material availability and about 1,500 other activities scheduled that could set us back, Sewell said.
Board members on Wednesday took the first step toward the project by purchasing 73.64 acres from Paul Fortman and 0.73 acres from Walter and Ann Vogel for the new school.
The Vogel property adjoins the Fortman property and forms the triangle tip of the acreage at the corner of state Route 66 and Shipman Road.
Construction of the 6-12 building is scheduled to begin in February 2009 and be ready for academic move-in at the beginning of the 2010-11 school year, if everything moves along as planned. The renovations to East and West schools and the Dennings building also would be completed by the 2010 school year.
A public information meeting for the sale of the district's school facilities construction bonds is scheduled for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the high school library. The sale, conducted by Wachovia Securities and the law firm of Bricker & Eckler, will raise $25.75 million as approved by voters last November.
Bonds will be sold with maturities from 1 to 28 years in minimum denominations of $5,000.
The board also approved directing interest earned on the bond proceeds to the district's building fund for Locally Funded Initiatives (LFIs) associated with the new construction/renovations. (LFIs are items that are either upgrades of the basic plan or additional items not in the plan and not fundable by the state. Examples are terrazzo flooring, athletic stadiums, extra classrooms, etc.)
The board unanimously approved employing Lawhon and Associates of Westerville as the district's maintenance plan adviser, as mandated by the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The group will take responsibility for various "hands-on after the fact" areas making sure personnel are trained to operate the new equipment, changing filters, for example.
The charge for this service is 10 cents per square foot (205,000 square feet in the St. Marys construction project), which is shared with the state at a 62/39 percent split.
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