WARREN School panel reviews construction plans

The 14 architectural firms that have submitted proposals will be whittled to three.
WARREN -- Although they don't know when money for new buildings will come through from the state, city school officials are trying to have things in place when it does.
The Ohio School Facilities Commission has recommended a plan to build eight elementary schools, two middle schools and a high school and to renovate Western Reserve Middle School.
The district, which includes Warren G. Harding High School, three middle schools and 13 elementaries, proposed an alternative plan earlier this year that OSFC also approved.
District's plan
The school district's plan proposes a new high school and three new kindergarten-through-eighth-grade buildings in three quadrants of the city.
In the fourth quadrant, Reserve would be renovated and used as a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade building.
District business manager Jim Russo said the district was concerned about space problems under the original plan for elementary schools.
Under the initial plan proposed by the state, the district might have to raze the elementary buildings and rebuild in the same places because of a lack of land. That presents a problem of where to house the pupils in the meantime, Russo said.
The district's four-quadrant plan eliminates the space issue.
Reviewing proposals
School board member Linda Metzendorf said the board's facilities committee is reviewing proposals from architectural firms. The committee includes Russo, Metzendorf and board member Nick Frankos Sr.
Russo said they have received proposals from 14 firms. The committee plans to review the proposals and whittle the list to three firms, which will be interviewed by the full school board, Russo said.
Metzendorf hopes that happens by the end of October.
The district has been in line for more than a year to receive $100 million for a building project. The remainder of the money needed would have to come from local sources such as a bond issue.
Moving forward
Officials don't know when the state money will come through, but Russo wants to move along with the process so that when it does, the district is ready to move ahead.
Having an architect on board would also enable the district to have a better idea of costs involved so officials can take the ideas to the community to see what the public wants and is willing to pay for.
The state says schools will be replaced if the cost of renovation exceeds by two-thirds the cost of new construction.
If a community wants to keep a building whose renovation exceeds the two-thirds rule, it must come up with the money.

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