April 14, 2017
Building Project News
Bellville, Ohio - In March of 2016, the Clear Fork Valley community approved the renewal of a one-percent earned income tax for a period of twenty years. Part of the approval was to erect two new elementary schools in conjunction with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), one in Butler and one in Bellville. Garmann Miller Architects and Engineers were hired as the architectural firm for the project. The Gilbane Company working with Adena Cooperation were hired as the construction manager at risk. It has taken months of meeting to finally reach a design for each of the buildings. The designs will be presented to the Clear Fork Valley Board of Education on April 20th at the Board’s regular monthly meeting to be held at Clear Fork High School at 6:30 p.m.
While building design, also known as schematic design was occurring, the district, architects and engineers were also busy working on soil borings, zoning permits, abatement plans, hydrologic/hydraulic analysis, discussing streets, radon testing, electrical rebates, and various other items. One of the biggest discussions for the board has been what to do with the Hines Avenue building in Bellville. Currently, the building houses all of the Bellville Kindergarteners, district preschoolers, and cafeteria for the elementary along with the district administrative offices. Once the building project is completed, students will no longer be housed in the Hines Avenue building leaving only the district offices to be maintained in the 17,500 square foot building. The district offices take up approximately 2000 square feet of the building. The district also maintains a building at Bellville Elementary called the Annex. It currently houses a few classrooms, some small offices for teaching staff, a special education classroom and small group reading rooms on the top floor. When the new building is completed, the Annex will only house the district maintenance in the lower level. As we are moving forward through this building process we completed a financial operations study for the Hines Avenue and the Annex Building, which was presented to the Board of Education at a special meeting on April 4th in the Hines Avenue building. The cost of adding district offices space to the new building was approximated at $500,000 for 2,000 square feet. This did not appear to be the best use of district money, therefore the option was not explored beyond approximate cost.
The financial operations study was done using OFCC figures in order to compare the two buildings using current market standards. The Hines Avenue building has a 1994 steam boiler system working at sixty percent efficiency possibly due to leaks in the 1950s steam lines , which have never been replaced or updated. The boiler system will need to be replaced within the next five years. To replace the boilers leaving the existing steam lines is a $396,000 expenditure. If the boilers and the steam lines are both replaced it becomes a $646,500 expenditure. The heating system in the Annex building is a 2010 system, which does not need any updating. Possible air conditioning option may need to be explored if the Annex becomes year round offices. Hines Avenue is also in need of a roof replacement within the next five years, if not sooner for an approximate cost of $150,000, which includes new drains. A roof replacement on the Annex is approximately $45,000. The question now becomes, “Is it fiscally responsible of the district to attempt to maintain the Hines Avenue building for a $796,500 expenditure if upon completion of the building project only the district administrative offices will be housed there?” If the district administrative offices were moved to the top floor of the Annex building with little to no internal renovations and no relocating of the district maintenance shop, an approximate expenditure of $45,000 for a roof, some cost for air conditioning and some cosmetic updates to look similar to the new Bellville Elementary located across the parking lot, the district could save the district several hundred thousand dollars in expenditures within a five year period in maintenance cost. The Board of Education will be voting on a motion at its April 20th meeting regarding this proposal to save the district money in areas that do not directly service students.
The new buildings are on track to begin site preparation in middle to late July. Package bidding should occur in May with a possible early site package being bid separately. Ground breaking will occur in August once school resumes. We are currently on track to move into the buildings during December of 2019. We will be setting up special dates for community members who would like to come into the current Butler and Bellville building to take pictures. We have not worked out the details to date.