By Harold Gwin
The district bought property to consolidate its busing program on Teamster Drive.
YOUNGSTOWN — The cost of tearing down Woodrow Wilson High School and preparing the land for the construction of Wilson Middle School just went up.
Delphi Consulting Inc. of Houston, Pa., was hired to raze the old school for $489,000, well below the engineering estimate of $1.5 million.
The city school board approved a resolution Monday agreeing to pay up to $200,000 more to Delphi to remove debris and poor soils from the site that would affect the construction of the new middle school. The material isn’t suitable as a base for new construction, school officials said.
Tony DeNiro, assistant superintendent for school business affairs, said the district hopes the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is picking up 80 percent of the district’s 14-building, $180 million school rebuilding program, also will pick up 80 percent of the soil and debris removal cost.
The OSFC hasn’t decided on the issue, he added.
“The district did have a company do geo-technical testing with soil borings on the site before Wilson was razed,” DeNiro said, adding that the testing found some poor soil at the time, and the architect changed the building’s design to avoid that area.
The new problem was discovered during the demolition and earthwork operations, he said.
The district encountered some similar problems at the East High School and Williamson Elementary School construction sites, and the OSFC picked up 80 percent of those additional costs, DeNiro said.
In other action, the board voted to buy a parcel of land adjacent to the district’s warehouse and mechanics’ station on Teamster Drive to house its bus fleet.
The land is being purchased from MPS Properties of Youngstown for $55,000, and the district will spend about $156,000 to get the site ready for use.
The additional expense will cover the cost of removal of the old fuel tanks at the current leased bus garage on Albert Street and the installation of new ones on the new property, DeNiro said.
Security cameras and lighting and automated gates to allow bus drivers access to the property are part of the expense as well, he said.
Board member Lock P. Beachum, Sr., citing the district’s ongoing battle with a budget deficit that will stand at about $10.4 million this year, asked where the money will come from to buy the property and improve the site.
William Johnson, district treasurer, said savings coming from the termination of the lease for the Albert Street bus garage will amount to $300,000 a year, enough to cover the purchase and improvements to the new location.
Once that project is completed, the district will see a $300,000 reduction in its annual busing expenses, Johnson added.