SWCS board approves renovation project

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

A long-planned renovation project is one step closer to becoming a reality in the South-Western City Schools District.

At its meeting last month, the board of education unanimously approved a facilities development contract with the Heath-based company, Robertson Construction Services, to improve and renovate the District Service Center and the Transportation Service Center.

Under the terms of the contract, the district will pay Robertson Construction Services $2.56 million for the interior and exterior upgrades at the two service centers. The district will also pay a separate owner contingency in the amount of $180,000 to cover the cost of unforeseen items or district requested changes during the construction process.

According to Monte Detterman, the district’s director of business services, the scope of the project at the District Service Center on Marlane Drive in Grove City will include 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 wrote in an email regarding the improvement project. “Many of these improvements will enhance the DCS’s heating and cooling capabilities and reduce utility costs in the long term.”

The scope of the project at the Transportation Service Center on Southwest Boulevard will primarily be cosmetic.

“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 area will also be renovated to provide a “more functional work space for scheduling and routing students each day.”

Detterman said the project could start sometime this winter, but most of the work would take place in the spring and summer. The district believes both of the projects will be completed near the start of the 2024-25 school year.

Unlike a majority of the infrastructure improvement 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 improvement projects that has been approved through the utilization of federal dollars include the construction of a new Stiles Family Resource Center, HVAC replacement and repairs 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. The district has spent approximately $16 million to combat learning loss by hiring additional counselors, intervention specialists, social workers, and student support liaisons. The district has also offered online tutoring services, expanded upon its summer school programming, provided Chromebooks to all students, and partnered with organizations such as the YMCA of Central Ohio to provide social and emotional support for the students.

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