Norwoods dirt mound soon to be hauled away

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Messenger photo by Linda Dillman

Former West Jefferson High School secretary Pauline Cullman (right), who retired in 1989 after 27 years of service, looks over a new computer system with the help of middle school Principal Debbie Omen during an open house at the high/middle school complex on Sept. 10. Omen was a student when Cullman—who toured the building with her daughter, Paula Peters—worked for the district. An open house at Norwood Elementary will be held on Sept. 17 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Jefferson Local School Board members want to make a molehill out of a mountain and plan to spend $120,000 in the process.

The board approved the expenditure during their Sept. 10 meeting before they adjourned for an open house of the high/middle school complex. The contract for removal of a large mound of dirt at the Norwood Elementary building was awarded to Buckeye Septic.

Four bids, ranging from a high of $250,000 to the low bid by Buckeye Septic, were received. Originally, the board allocated a sum of $129,000 for removal of dirt from construction projects, but withdrew the line item when it was decided to construct mounding around the building.

“We ended up having so much topsoil there,” said Superintendent William Mullett. “In the final contract, it was agreed to leave it on-site. It was a cost-saving measure at the time, but there was so much extra dirt. They did try to take some of it away. The removal cost is not coming out of the district’s general fund. It comes out of the general interest money for the project.

“In a way, we saved money. We originally budgeted $129,000 for dirt removal and ended up spending $9,000 less. The neighborhood is going to be happy because we have a mountain out there right now. I think the OSFC (Ohio School Facilities Commission) and our construction man-ager agreed it was in our best interest to take down the hill.”

In other discussion, Mullett said the district has done well in keeping down health care costs, which is good news for employees because Jefferson Local is self-funded. He told board members a third-party insurance agent said the district “probably had the best year it’s ever had in quite some time.”

“Everyone was fairly amazed,” continued the superintendent. “We knew things were going well; we just had to wait for the data. We’ve already saved money by doing well this year, which is also saving us money for next year. Our self-insurance has served us well, which we’ve had for a number of years in health, dental, vision, and prescription drugs.”

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