Chesapeake board starts process for new football field

Published 9:36 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CHESAPEAKE — The Chesapeake school board took the first steps to putting in a new athletic complex. But not before some board members offered concerns about how much oversight they should have on the project.

At a special meeting Tuesday evening the five-member board voted unanimously to move 2 mills from the district 4.5 inside millage used for operating expenses to permanent improvements.

That will partially fund the project to renovate the football field and track at the high school.

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Only five were in the audience at the meeting and none spoke for or against the action.

“The track is condemned … the visitors’ bleachers are on the right of way of the highway …. There are sagging steps and the weight room floods. That is a health hazard,” Dr. Kim Oxley said before the vote. “There are no handicapped accessible stands. Most repairs are structural, not cosmetic. Higher education is our primary responsibility, but society needs well-rounded individuals. We owe it to provide (the students) all the advantages we can.”

However, board member Jerry Osborne questioned a proposed timetable offered by Superintendent Scott Howard that would mean completed construction by Aug. 3.

Architectural services would be advertised from Thursday to Sept. 16 with proposals received on Sept 23. An architect would be selected on Sept 29 and drawings would be completed by Nov. 21. Construction would start on Jan. 2.

“I think if we have that date and goal we might find ourselves in a bad situation without thinking it through,” Osborne said. “We need this (complex). I am behind it 100 percent. We want to do it right. We don’t want to push and forge ahead, just to be ready by August.”

Board member David Bennett also was concerned about the timetable. However, members Dr. Mike Dyer and Oxley said they found the schedule reasonable.

“I feel comfortable with the timeline,” Dyer said. “To go with the momentum. The community is excited.”

Howard pointed out that this is the second year the district has been without its track, which was closed down a year ago.

“(The community) doesn’t want it done in a second-class manner, but done with dispatch,” Howard said. “There are a lot of people in the community who want us to move forward, but not without quality and efficiency.”

Howard also said if ground is not broken by January, the renovation miight not be completed by the next school year.

The board also voted to authorize Howard and the district’s treasurer to select a bond counsel, a recommendation partially made by new board member Curt Anderson.

“There will have to be a bond issue,” Anderson said. “(And) non-traditional financing. I think a bond counsel could prove very helpful.”

Anderson said there were only about three attorneys in the state able to act as a bond counsel and wanted the superintendent and treasurer to get recommendations for an individual to be chosen.

Osborne also questioned the process of choosing an architect. According the Howard, the Ohio Revised Code requires that architects interested in the project submit resumes and portfolio. From that the architects would be ranked.

“We would pick them without knowing what they would charge?” Osborne asked. “Not knowing what dollars are attached?”

Howard said the architect would be chosen first, then a contract would be negotiated.

“You select the person and then negotiate the price,” the superintendent said.

“It seems like you are blank checking then,” Osborne said.

“That is why you rank,” Howard said. “If you don’t agree on price, you go to the next rank.”

The board also voted there would be a special meeting on Sept. 29 for the purpose of ranking an architect.