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Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

School utilizes leftover funds for projects


By Amy Kronenberger
ROCKFORD - Parkway Local Schools soon may receive more than $1 million leftover from its building project.
Board members on Tuesday night learned the state is expected to close out the school construction account in three to four weeks.
"We really don't know how much we'll end up with, but we're estimating about $1.1 million," superintendent Greg Puthoff said. "That estimate is on the low end because I don't want to over estimate."
The Ohio School Facilities Commission construction project built the $36 million PK-12 school, which opened in 2006, with taxpayer and state funds. Leftover funds must be used for building maintenance and/or construction; there is no timeframe of when to use the money, Puthoff said. The money cannot be used to pay down debt or for school operating cost.
Board members are planning to use some funds for new lighting and a concessions building at the football field and new dugouts at the baseball diamond. They also talked about purchasing a digital sign and constructing new bleachers and a press box in the future.
Puthoff said some of the money will be invested for future use. Any interest earned also must go toward building and maintenance.
"We're going to invest some of it in a rainy day fund in case a boiler goes out in the future or something," he said. "I've been discussing saving $200,000 with the board, but if we can save more, we will. We're not going to spend just to spend."
The school now is accepting bids for the dugout project and hope to begin construction in the next few weeks. Garmann-Miller Architects of Minster has been hired to design the project, estimated at $24,000.
"The biggest priority is time," Puthoff said. "Baseball season starts pretty early, so we need to get the footers, cement floor and block wall in before winter. The roof can be done in cold weather."
In January, school officials will meet with Garmann-Miller to draw up plans for the new lighting and concessions building. Puthoff said estimates are not yet available, but officials are roughly guessing $100,000 for each project.
The concessions building, which will serve the football field and baseball diamond, will include restrooms and a ticket booth at both ends. The project is expected to be completed by next football season.
"The light poles are cracking and the restrooms are in really bad shape," Puthoff said.
The school may also purchase a digital announcement sign for the intersection of Buckeye Street and state Route 118. The sign's estimated cost is $30,000.
Not only will it serve as an announcement of where the school is and school activities, but it'll also serve as a community announcement board, Puthoff said.
"We want to be part of the community," he said. "The Rockford Historical Society will help pay for the sign, and we'll include community announcements."
Puthoff said it took six years for the state to close out the construction account because of a continuous leak in the roof over the kitchen. Numerous inspectors couldn't pinpoint the leak, so the entire section of roof was replaced.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, Puthoff read his energy usage report. After upgrading to energy efficient utilities, cost in electricity dropped 5.2 percent the first year and another 4.7 percent the second year.
Natural gas costs dropped 1.1 percent the first year and 21 percent from last year to this year with the installation of solar panels.
The solar panels aid in heating water. New energy efficient light fixtures also were installed.
Puthoff set up a public hearing for 6:45 p.m. Dec. 13 to discuss a possible retire-rehire of an employee to be named later. The regular board meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The board then will formally accept or reject the retire-rehire position during the Jan. 10 meeting.
Puthoff asked the employee to stay the remainder of the year after he or she gave notice of retirement.
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