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Contracts awarded for high school renovation

BALTIMORE – It’s moving time at Liberty Union-Thurston High School.

Moves started last weekend to clear space for the first of six phases to totally renovate the high school building. Art and family/consumer science classes have moved into the two of the three suites rented by the district in the Dedicated Mortgage building just south of the high school. Other high school classes will move into the five former fifth grade rooms at the middle school and into a new classroom created in the middle school cafeteria. Fifth graders have moved temporarily to the elementary school until the new middle school is completed.

The vocational agriculture and industrial arts classrooms are in former fifth grade rooms. Some limited shop work will be done in the district’s maintenance building. Space was cleared there by moving some equipment storage to Liberty Township’s West Market Street building.

Board of education members unanimously approved five contracts Monday night for the nearly two-year project. All five were the low bids for their respective trades and were confirmed during the bid verification process conducted by the project architect and construction manager that followed the Oct. 2 bid opening. Each confirmed bid was below the estimate. Contract awards are:

• General Trades: Robertson Corporation Services, Inc. for $1,700,521 after accepting a $2,121.00 alternate. Savings from estimate is $1,037,513.

• HVAC: Gutridge Plumbing for $1,022,000. Savings from estimate is $295,449.

• Electrical: City Electric Services, Inc. for $873,500. Savings from estimate is $196,728.

• Plumbing: Oakland Plumbing for $234,113. Savings from estimate is $16,187.

• Fire Protection: TP Mechanical Contractors for $80,867. Savings from estimate is $36,709.

All electrical work will be replaced as will all moving part of the heating and air conditioning system. Ceilings and all floor coverings, carpet or tile, will be replaced as will student lockers. The sprinkler system will be extended to cover the entire building. There will be some structural changes, particularly to the library. The library and first floor core area work will be done this summer. The first phase will take about three months. The sixth and final phase is the auditorium.

In other business Monday night, board members unanimously took the first step to ask voters to renew for five years the one half percent portion of the district’s 1.75 percent income tax that expires next year. The 1.25 percent balance of the income tax is permanent. The renewal will still only apply to earned income. The renewal will be on the May ballot.

District Treasurer David Butler had some good news on income tax receipts. Revenue is received four times a year – last day of July, October, January and April. July receipts were down 12 percent, but October receipts were only down 2 percent from last year. “Income tax is up over what we anticipated, but still down,” Butler reported. He added that federal stimulus payments represent seven percent of the state’s foundation or basic financial aid to districts. Both Superintendent Paul Mathews and Butler have expressed serious concerns about what happens to state support when stimulus funds are no longer available.

Board members also unanimously approved the purchase of 71-passenger school bus that can accommodate two wheelchairs from Center City at $80,744. The bid came through the district’s membership in the Metropolitan Educational Council. Mathews said the 71-passenger-equipped bus holds just 48 passengers and has more than 235,000 miles on it.

After a nearly 40 minute ex- ecutive or closed session, board members returned and unanimously approved a three-year basic contract with the union representing non-teaching personnel. Wages and health care are only specified for the first year which began July 1 for year round employees. The one year wage agreement includes a 2.5 percent raise and maintains current health benefits. Last month, board members approved a one year contract with teachers for a 1.5 percent increase across the board plus a $500 bonus payable in August 2010. “We’re very concerned abut what could happen,” Mathews said, explaining the one year financial agreements.

Nick Tennant and Aaron Young were honored as the Students of-the-Month. Tennant is the son of Jeff and Judi Tennant. The sophomore is a scholar athlete in soccer and track and a FFA member. Young is the son of Todd and Maggie Young. The junior is a soccer tri-captain, first team Mid-States League in soccer, and active in FCA and his church.

Katie Hochradel, wife of board member Shaun Hochradel, was selected by her fellow teachers as Teacher-of-the-Month. She is a middle school intervention specialist.

Board members also nominated The Beacon for the Ohio School Board Association’s Media Honor Roll. The award is “for fair and balanced education reporting, and exemplary service to our community.”

The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14 in the high school library.

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