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Weight, ROTC rooms revived

With a quick shuffle, the weight room and ROTC room expansions were added back into the Oak Harbor High School renovation project.

To pay for the estimated $534,000 needed to expand the two rooms, which are located in the school’s fieldhouse, school officials moved audio/visual equipment and sound equipment to the project’s “furniture, fixture and equipment” budget.

Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Rick Schulte said during a special school board meeting Thursday night that the cost of the equipment and the cost of the fieldhouse upgrades are almost equal. Earlier in the process, the possibility of eliminating the weight and ROTC rooms had been discussed.

The school board held the special meeting after learning last week that the costs for the high school increased after designers discovered the savings expected for construction of a new commons building were only half of what was expected. They had originally planned that the new building would have saved approximately $5 million.

Schulte said there is $1.5 million in the furniture, fixture and equipment budget and preliminary reports indicate the amount of money budgeted will meet the high school’s needs.

The district also has $1.6 million worth of alternates that can be added should the bids for the $72 million renovation project come in lower than expected.

Items on that list include replacing the roof at the fieldhouse and main gym, new flooring in the fieldhouse, and new ceiling finishes for the fieldhouse.

School Board member Corey Johnson questioned whether it is wise not to replace the roofs over the gym and fieldhouse.

“I have grave reservations about roofing,” Johnson said. He wanted those two items given a higher priority than the proposed work on the ballfields.

The school district has money budgeted to repair the practice fields that will be used as a staging area for the renovation project.

School officials are making a more thorough examination of the roofs on the two athletic buildings to determine the condition. The roof on the main gym was built in 1991.

Schulte said during the meeting that such roofs have between a 30- to 50-year life expectancy.

Johnson pointed out leaks were discovered on the old Clover Valley Elementary School roof after the elementary schools were remodeled, which resulted in some bad publicity.

Schulte said that the school district had an inspector examine the Clover Valley roof and said it would last longer. Unfortunately, the inspector’s judgement was wrong.

He added that it is better keeping the roofs as an alternate to the renovation projects because it keeps the school district’s options open. By adding them to the project, the school district runs the risk of having the bids come in too high and then officials would have to revise the project, which would cost more money and take more time.

“I don’t see where restricting options is a good idea,” Schulte said.

School board member David McCool said he wouldn’t want the roofs replaced if the district can get more use out of them.

“One of our duties is not to replace something that has economic life to it,” McCool said.

The school district has a $1.7 million market contingency set aside in case the bids for the renovation project are high.

Architects are continuing their work designing the high school project. The first phase of the project is scheduled to go out to bid in February. That part is the construction of the new career and technical education wing. Work on that new building will begin this spring.

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