Collins Center board seeks school work

Published 9:56 am Friday, April 15, 2011

GETAWAY — They don’t know when the first footer will be poured, but if Collins Career Center officials have their way, it will be done with union labor.

Last year the school board signed a project labor agreement with the Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council to provide the labor for a proposed $22 million expansion and renovation of its campus.

“The school was built in the 1970s and to be quite honest the infrastructure is falling apart,” Collins Superintendent Steve Dodgion said. “The plumbing, the heating, the cooling, all those things are going on 40 years old. The roof is bad and leaks.”

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The majority of the funding for the renovations will come from the Ohio School Facilities Commission with the school district providing the remaining 25 percent.

“Under the previous administration (at the commission) PLAs were considered OK,” Collins Superintendent Steve Dodgion said. “It wasn’t that we were encouraged to do so but we were free if we chose to do that. Upon the new administration, they have eliminated those PLAs. We have to ask for a waiver to hold on to our PLA. We are appealing to the facilities commission and our legislators.”

At its Thursday meeting the Lawrence County Commissioners approved unanimously a resolution in support of retaining the PLA for the Collins project at the request of Mark Johnson of the trades council.

“Ironton had very good luck with their PLA,” Dodgion said. “The labor was extremely professional. And, in the area we are in, that is the most prudent thing for us to do as a trade school. My board is adamant we signed that agreement in good faith we should honor that agreement.”

Dodgion also plans to lobby for the PLA at the next school commission’s meeting in Columbus.

Part of gaining state funding is the requirement that Collins put aside two percent of the insured value of the project for the next 23 years for maintenance. Officials want that money to come from a levy. However in the last general election voters shot down that levy 10,061 to 7,007. But Collins officials are going to try again.

“It is our intention to put it back on the ballot,” Dodgion said. “It is only a half mil.”

That levy would cost a taxpayer with a house valued at $100,000 approximately $15 a year.

“We need the levy,” the superintendent said.