School’s wings due for a makeover

The Oak Harbor school board passed a resolution Monday night to convert two buildings on the high school campus into a space for maintenance, grounds and information services.

The school district expects to have $3 million in investment earnings on high school bonds that can be used for the conversion.

In April, an architectural and engineering study showed that some of the district’s support centers were in “extreme states of deterioration.”

These buildings included the warehouse, maintenance, grounds and information service facilities on Midway Avenue.

Consultants agreed that modernizing the buildings wouldn’t be cost effective, so they looked at a newly available space that would “comfortably fit” the centers: the high school’s C and D wings.

These octagonal-shaped buildings formerly housed the career and technical education classrooms. The programs were moved into a new CTE building, created during the school’s modernization project.

Superintendent Rick Schulte said the C and D wings can no longer be used by students. The district accepted state matching funds under the stipulation that the buildings would be removed from the district’s inventory of classroom space.

Demolition of the wings was estimated at $1 million.

“From every perspective converting the buildings is a good value,” Schulte said.

The school board decided to begin advertising for a designer following a May 25 public hearing.

According to information provided by the school district, all comments about the conversion have been positive, with no suggestions that it should be done differently.

Bond underwriter John Eaton found that using these funds for the C and D wing conversion would save taxpayers $1 to $1.5 million compared to the alternative of using the funds to pay off bonds early and then sponsoring a new election and selling bonds at a higher interest rate with higher construction costs at a later time.

Construction would begin in the summer or fall of 2010 for completion in the spring of 2011.

The work would coincide with work upgrading the athletic fields for which $1.5 million in investment earnings had previously been set aside.

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