School district to use relief funds for roof improvements

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The South-Western City Schools District is set to tap into its federal relief funds in order to make improvements at several high school facilities.

At a recent meeting, the board of education unanimously approved a resolution to authorize the replacement of the roofs at the recreation centers at Franklin Heights, Grove City, and Westland High Schools.

According to district officials, this $3.89 million project is sorely needed.

“These facilities were built in the early 1980s,” said Monte Detterman, the district’s director of business services. “And while we have done repairs here and there over the years, we feel it is well past time to address the underlying issues and get it fixed through a complete replacement.”

Three companies bid for the project and two companies were awarded contracts to oversee it. The Carl T. Johnson Co. of Logan, Ohio will replace the recreation center roof at the Falcon’s Nest for $1.34 million and R.A.M.E Inc. of Washington, Pa. will replace the recreation center roofs at Grove City and Westland for $2.54 million.

An additional $300,000 will be set aside for unforeseen items or district requested changes during the roof replacement project.

Detterman said he believes all three roof replacement projects will be completed before the start of the 2022-23 school year.

“We may still be making minor repairs but there should not be any major impact to the students when school is in session,” he said.

The district will be paying for the $3.89 million project through its third round of federal COVID-19 relief funds. Last year, the district announced it had received an allocation of $61.1 million through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and with it came a requirement that 20 percent of the total sum be set aside to focus on learning loss initiatives caused during the course of the pandemic.

The remainder of the funds could be used for capital improvement projects with the stipulation that they be used before the end of 2023. In addition to the roof replacement at the high school recreation centers, the district also would like to use those funds to replace HVAC units at its intermediate schools, reconfigure space at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods Elementary and build additional classroom space at the South-Western Career Academy.

In other news, the board awarded a contract to Decker Construction Company Inc. for phase two of the transportation lot improvement project. According to Detterman, the company will be using roller-compacted asphalt to replace the middle portion of the 13-acre lot – similar to what they use to create highways.

“It will last longer and be much more sustainable,” he said.

The project will cost $521,601 with an additional $52,599 set aside for unforeseen items and owner requested changes during construction.

Detterman said phase two will take place this summer while the third and final phase will take place next year. He said the district had to break this project up into phases due to the size of the transportation lot and the logistics of moving its fleet.

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