WL-S board approves building project items

By Casey S. Elliott - celliott@civitasmedia.com

WEST LIBERTY – At a special meeting Tuesday, the West Liberty-Salem school board authorized additions to the building project, in the event of leftover funds.

The board authorized running a temporary underground conduit/sewer pipe from the existing line near the band room to the edge of the overnight bus parking lot; getting estimates for an LED stage lighting system for the new cafetorium/auditeria; and building a 30-foot by 40-foot storage barn/garage to store tractor equipment. The authorizations are dependent on having the funds available.

The funds will come from the Locally Funded Initiatives (LFI) portion of the project. The items are unlikely to be co-funded by state dollars for the building project, Superintendent Kraig Hissong said.

All three are considered “alternate” items that the board wanted to do if it had leftover funds available once the necessary items are paid for in the building project.

Still unknown is how much the district will need to use if the second access point from U.S. Route 68 needs additional road work. Work will be done this summer on that additional entrance, Project Superintendent Craig Kertesz said. Ohio Department of Transportation officials are still looking at the soils in the area, and what they’ve seen so far on the west side of the highway concerns them, he said.

Kertesz said building contractors did site borings for the land, but there is always a chance those borings missed something that could require more earthwork, which could be expensive.

“It’s always better to tread on the side of caution until we dig it up,” he said. “What’s there made ODOT uncomfortable. The highway isn’t the issue. It’s to the side of what we’re adding.”

Board members asked when additional costs associated with the roadway would be known. Kertesz said the district should have a better idea of money left to use for alternate items in the fall.

Authorized alternate items

The sewer pipe work is estimated to cost $5,000. It would be available for future use with a structure or building as needed. The work needs to be done before contractors put down final asphalt in the parking lots, so the asphalt does not have to be removed to place the line.

Hissong said the hope is to eventually build a structure for transportation meetings or professional development, and this line would be needed for that structure. Another line could be run from it to an athletic facility in the future if the board decides to create one.

The stage lighting system was authorized for up to $75,000 by the school board. It would provide rows of stage lights to the cafetorium that would be controllable by a computer or wireless device, such as an iPad.

Board members asked Hissong to talk with individuals working on the Holland Theatre or the Gloria Theatre improvements to determine what would be suitable. The district wants to upgrade the current lighting system, making it modern enough so students get valuable learning experience from using it, without spending excessive dollars for the project. Hissong is getting cost estimates for the project.

“My thoughts on this are, assuming we have the (dollars) to spend, I’m strongly in favor of doing the lights,” said Board President Chris Moell. “To me, it’s comparable to us spending all this money redoing the gym and having the same junky scoreboard on the wall. I think we’re taking a huge step forward with the auditorium. Finish the job, do it right, right now. I think it’s important to not go cheap on areas people who are actually paying for the project use and enjoy. We spent money on athletics. I think we need to do the same on the arts.”

The storage barn is larger than an existing storage barn on the property. The board considered moving the existing storage barn, but once it factored in the cost for a new building pad and moving expenses, it decided it would be better to get a new, larger barn. The estimated cost for a new barn ranges from $14,500 to $36,500.

The school board also approved purchasing a 2014 Case IH 35C tractor with loader (700 hours of use) from Farmers Equipment in Urbana for $15,000. The cost includes a $3,000 trade-in for the district’s 1965 Massey Ferguson.

The board approved the resignation of Special Education Teacher Maggie Maloney, effective June 28, 2016. It also approved hiring First Grade/Special Education Teacher Kassi A. Shaffer at Step 0 of the bachelor’s column of the pay scale.

By Casey S. Elliott


Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

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