Construction projects discussed in school district

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The South-Western City Schools District has a fleet of more than 200 buses. All are housed as its transportation lot located off Southwest Boulevard in Grove City.

When school is in session, this lot is a hub of activity. Not only are buses coming in and out of the depot multiple times a day to take students to school and back home, but so too are the vehicles of the employees as they start or end their scheduled shift.

When school is not in session, however, this lot is still a hub of activity though much of it happens outside of the scope of the naked eye.

As the heavy buses sit on the lot and as the summer sun beats down on the ground, miniscule fissures start to grow underneath the asphalt, slowly expanding until they make their way to the surface. When they do, action has to be taken to stop their destructive process before they start to pose a problem for the fleet and employee vehicles.

Recently, these cracks have become a problem. In May, the board of education approved a resolution that paved the way for $400,000 worth of repairs to be made at the transportation lot. These improvements took place over the course of the summer but district officials say there is more work to be done.

On Aug. 23, Mark Meadows, the district’s supervisor of property services, presented the board of education with an overview of the construction project. He said it was so expansive that it had to be broken down into three phases which will take place throughout 2023.

Phase one was completed before the start of the 2021-22 school year, he said. The scope of this phase included the removal of the current asphalt and the installation of a “roller-compacted concrete” to extend its lifespan so it better holds the weight of the buses.

“This should service us for years to come,” Meadows said.

Additional phase one improvements include the extension of car parking to allow for safer bus turning radius and the inclusion of additional parking areas for both cars and smaller buses.

According to Sandra Nekoloff, the district’s executive director of communications, phases two and three will entail additional asphalt replacements and resurfacing repairs. She said these additional phases still need to go out for bid so she does not have an estimate as to how much money the entire project will cost.

Meadows said additional, albeit smaller, projects were undertaken this summer throughout the district as well.

“Summers are always busy in the facilities and property services department, and this summer has proved to be no different,” he said.

According to Meadows, asphalt repairs were also done at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods Elementary, behind the recreation center at Westland High School, and at the district’s service center.

He said asphalt improvements are also slated to be done at the district’s maintenance yard.

“This is an effort to get the district on track for a much more regular (sealing and striping) routine.”

Other summer improvements include exterior painting of the Bostic Center and Darby Woods; playground renovations at Finland, Harmon and Stiles elementary; dugout improvements at Westland; gate partition repairs at Westland and Grove City high school; and HVAC improvements at the preschool.

Meadows also said a scoreboard was ordered for the boys baseball and girls softball teams at Westland. They are slated to be delivered in the fall.

In other meeting news, Carl Metzger, the assistant superintendent of personnel, gave a staffing update to the board. According to Metzger, the district has 2,773 certificated and classified employees. Of that number, 1,748 are certificated employees (1,644 teachers, 104 administrators) and 1,025 are classified.

He also added that the district is looking for bus drivers, substitute bus drivers, custodians, teacher’s aides, and substitute teachers. He said to visit their website at www.swcsd.us for more information on how to apply.

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