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Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Board members seek input from village contractors

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - Several village contractors will be asked to share their thoughts and opinions with school officials about renovation of the high school.
Board members on Tuesday evening spent over an hour in a work session discussing facility needs.
District voters in November overwhelmingly defeated a levy that would help pay for the construction of a $10.8 million high school with state funding assistance.
Board members agreed that doing nothing is not an option and decided to ask 14 builders and contractors to attend a meeting likely to be held at the end of the month with officials from the school and Garmann/Miller & Associates, Minster. They hope the professionals can aid in developing, as well as lend credibility to, a renovation plan of the high school.
Board member Dan Kahlig said there is a risk that the contractors will not come to a consensus.
"It's still going to be the board's responsibility," board member Jack Staugler said about future action.
Recent surveys show there are many different reasons why people feel the levy failed. Treasurer Lori Koch expressed frustration at trying to come to a decision that would be accepted by more people.
"To me, there's absolutely no way that running the same levy would result in a different result in May - not unless something very drastic happens," Staugler said, adding that it would be foolish to waste time on an option that residents don't want.
Newly-elected board president Dave Hull said he is torn on the issue, explaining he believes a new high school would save money over 25 years and provide great benefits.
"I just think that's the best long-term decision for the school," he said, adding it's hard to let go of that conviction.
Asked how he would go about keeping the option alive, Hull said he didn't know and said he isn't against renovating the current high school.
"I'm not opposed to anything," he said.
Board member Ginny Fortkamp suggested the board wait to put the levy back on the ballot until August when there may be a change of heart among voters. The chance of the levy's passing this summer would be slim to none, board member Steve Wendel responded.
The board also discussed asking the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) - which is offering the district $5.5 million to build a 47,000-square-foot high school onto the elementary/middle school building - to change the scope of the project. Superintendent Pat Niekamp said OSFC officials will not like the idea, but may consider it.
Koch said if the district doesn't pass a levy this year to secure the necessary $5.3 million in local tax dollars, the project is considered "lapsed." Any future project after becoming a lapsed district would require that taxpayers first front money before OSFC would match that contribution.
Currently, OSFC is fronting the money and waiting for the district to come up with its match, she said.
According to an assessment from Garmann/Miller & Associates, the current high school - with portions dating back to 1935 - needs a $2.28 million HVAC replacement, $171,000 worth of new roofs, a $250,000 electrical system upgrade and $250,000 in technology improvements. It would cost the district $4.8 million to renovate the facility to extend its life another 30 to 40 years.
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