By Dedra Cordle
Interior and exterior upgrades are slated for multiple buildings in the South-Western City Schools District.
At its meeting on Oct. 23, the board of education unanimously approved two items for action that will allow the district to start planning for infrastructure improvements and renovations at its district service center and its transportation service center next year.
The first item for action that was approved was an agreement with Schorr Architects to provide professional design services for the project. Under the terms of the contract, the district will pay $255,000 to the architectural firm for the design, bidding and construction administration phases, with an additional allocation of $33,000 for permitting and plan reproduction costs.
The second item for action that was approved was a resolution authorizing the district to advertise for bids for the infrastructure improvement and renovation project at the two service centers.
According to Monte Detterman, the district’s director of business services, the scope of the project at the district service center on Marlane Drive includes upgrades throughout the facility.
“Among the items set for bid within this project are windows, HVAC, roofing improvements, and structural issues with the exterior,” he said in an email. “Many of these improvements will enhance the DSC’s heating and cooling capabilities and reduce utility costs long term.”
The scope of the project at the transportation service center on Southwest Boulevard are “mostly cosmetic,” said Detterman.
“There are some doors that need to be replaced and the exterior of the building will be painted,” he said. “A new heating system will be installed in the mechanics bay as well as replacing some ventilation units.
He added that lighting will be upgraded throughout the facility with energy efficient LED fixtures and restrooms and break areas will be renovated to provide better facilities for staff. The office will also be renovated to provide a “more functional work space for scheduling and routing students each day.”
The current estimate for the district service center project is budgeted at $1.5 million. The current estimate for the transportation service center project is budgeted at $500,000.
Detterman said that ideally the district service center project would start this winter, but most of the work would be in the spring and summer. The transportation service center project could begin this fall.
He said that it is the district’s hope that both projects will be completed in August and/or September of 2024.
Unlike a majority of the infrastructure improvement and renovation projects that have been approved by the board within the past several years, this project will be funded by permanent improvement dollars and not federal dollars that have been allocated through the American Rescue Plan and The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (APR-ESSER).
Some of the district infrastructure projects that have been approved utilizing those funds include the construction of a new Stiles Family Resource Center, HVAC throughout the school buildings, a new addition to Hayes Intermediate School, roof repair and renovation at the recreation centers, and an event center expansion at the South-Western Career Academy.
The ARP-ESSER dollars have also been utilized for learning loss initiatives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the district has spent more than $15 million to combat learning loss by hiring additional counselors, intervention specialists, social workers, and student support liaisons; offering online tutoring services; building a more robust summer school program; providing Chromebooks to all students; and partnering with organizations such as the YMCA of Central Ohio to provide social and emotional support for the students.