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Chesapeake closer to final school plan

CHESAPEAKE – Construction is scheduled to begin by this summer on a new 60,000 square-foot Chesapeake Middle School.

Tuesday, December 14, 1999

CHESAPEAKE – Construction is scheduled to begin by this summer on a new 60,000 square-foot Chesapeake Middle School.

Plans for the new building, which will be funded through the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission and a local tax levy passed in February, were presented to the Chesapeake Board of Education at a special meeting Monday night.

Although a little off schedule, architects are pleased with how the plans for the new building are progressing.

"It’s going really well," said Gina Chabot, project designer/manager with Tanner, Stone & Co. Architects. "The schematic drawings will probably be approved within a month. The construction manager has a process and they check everything thoroughly."

Originally, architects were supposed to have the second stage of development completed this month, but school officials are not upset with the slight delay.

"The schedule’s always been tentative," said Fred Wood, superintendent. "It can’t always be 100 percent absolute."

If board members approve the tentative plans at Monday’s regular meeting, officials could have the second, more detailed phase of design completed by February, said Bob McAuliffe, construction manager with BBLMaesher DAG LLC.

"We need to have revised dates," McAuliffe said. "At the Monday meeting, we will try to approve a revised schedule. The new design development deadline would be Feb. 18 for completion. We could then have the construction documents in May, and be ready for bid by June. The work could be started by this summer."

A more complete work schedule needs to be completed before moving forward, however.

"We need to establish a schedule for this entire project and I don’t think we’re there yet," said Glenn Rowell, OSFC project administrator. "We need to work on a time basis. We need to know we’re working on a certain timeframe."

Exact construction dates for the renovation of the elementary school and high school have not been set, although plans are being discussed to renovate the high school at the same time as the construction of the middle school, and to begin construction of the elementary school after the new middle school is complete, McAuliffe said.

Construction on the new building will not be delayed, because of site work, though.

"The soil is good out here," said Mark Tanner, architect. "We don’t have any real problems with the soil."

There are other problems with the site, however, Tanner added.

Students will have to hike up a few steps once they move into the new middle school building.

Site size constraints have made architects design a two-story building, Tanner said.

"This site doesn’t meet guidelines of the Ohio School Facilities Commission," he said. "It’s smaller than recommended. Some of the ways we will have to deal with that are to double up uses of outside activities. This is what we have to work with, but I think the project will improve the site."

Some of the additional improvements to the school site will include 186 parking spaces where the current middle school now stands, a cafeteria capable of seating 200 students during a lunch period and a voice mail system that will give teachers a phone in every classroom.

Designs for renovations to the elementary and high schools, which also are included in this project, will not start until after completion of middle school drawings, Ms. Chabot said.

If the rest of the project goes as planned, the buildings should be completed by the summer of 2002, McAuliffe said.

"It will take a year for the new building, and another year after that for the elementary school," he said. "It should be completed within two years of the ground breaking – summer 2002."

A public informational meeting to discuss plans for the new school and renovation projects will be scheduled after the holiday break, Wood said.