BETHEL TWP. — At their first meeting of 2019, the Bethel Board of Education appointed board officers and discussed facilities.
Board president Jacob King will continue in the office for the next year. Julie Reese was elected the board’s vice president.
The board heard an update from Mike Huff with Levin Porter Architects, who walked them through the results of a facilities survey.
The survey inspected the district’s buildings and compared the cost to renovate the existing facilities with the cost to replace them. Most of the buildings met the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s (OFCC) “two-thirds rule,” which means that the state recommends rebuilding instead of renovation if the cost of renovation is estimated to be two-thirds or above the cost of rebuilding.
“The ratio is basically the amount of dollars the OFCC estimates that it would take to renovate an existing building versus replacing that building outright,” Huff said.
The new survey puts the building at a 73 percent renovation-to-replacement ratio, he added. The junior high school portion had a 65 percent ratio, the old high school is at a 77 percent ratio.
Huff told the board the current renovation estimate of the district’s facilities, excluding the high school addition, is about $19.8 million. That total does not include the reconfiguration of existing classroom spaces which don’t comply with the OFCC’s square footage guidelines. Huff added the district would likely lose classrooms and pay an additional $5 million to $10 million if the current spaces were to be reconfigured to fit the state’s standards.
“It’s an expensive proposition in this building,” he said of the elementary school.
Replacing everything but the recent high school addition and the high school gym is estimated to cost about $25 million.
Since the last survey in 2013, the district has performed maintenance in some of the categories the survey considered and the cost estimates had changed. Recent updates meant that the condition of the buildings in some areas had improved, but the estimated cost of renovation had gone up over the last few years. Huff said that was due to an increase in construction costs and added that the estimated cost “would have been higher had you done nothing.”
“In 2013, that cost a certain amount of money,” Huff said, pointing to OFCC-approved flooring as an example. “In 2018, that costs more. That’s simply a reflection of the updated cost guidelines from the OFCC.”
Huff noted that the two-thirds rule doesn’t necessarily mean that the district would be required to build new, adding that the OFCC would co-fund a renovation project up to 100 percent of replacement costs, but would not co-fund beyond that amount.
“Let’s say that to renovate a building would cost $14 million, whereas the replacement was $12 million, they would co-fund the $12 million and the $2 million would basically be all locally funded,” he said.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.