WOOSTER – GPD Group, comprised of architects, engineers and planners, gave the Wooster City School District Board of Education an updated assessment of the Cornerstone Elementary School building for consideration of whether to renovate it or construct a new building on the site.
Abby Twarek Rainieri, a design manager for GPD Group, provided documentation and explanation of the firm’s updated Cornerstone Elementary building assessment at the board’s Tuesday, May 24 meeting. It was first done by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission in 2018.
GPD’s goal was to validate the original assessment, Rainieri said; revising it to 2022 costs in evaluating every system in the building and its structure.
To bring all the existing spaces and classrooms “as they currently are” up to design manual standards would cost about $35.6 million, she said.
In looking for what has deteriorated since 2018 and adding some needed items, such as insulation for the roof, to bring them up to current codes and standards, GPD and a team of engineers “found an added $1.9 million of scope that we needed to add to that report,” she said, upping the total to about $37.6 million.
Another $4 million for reprogramming, upgrades and enhancements increased the cost of renovation to about $41.6 million. Preserving the historical facade of the building could cost another $1.5 million.
“We’re still working through those details (of the facade),” Rainieri said.
The renovation to replace ratio is close to 100%, above the OFCC formula of a 67% ratio for recommending renovation over new construction.
“We would need to go through some added processes with the OFCC to get them to approve something this far above the ratio,” Rainieri said, referring to seeking OFCC co-funding for renovation.
“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen.” While “it isn’t unheard of,” she said, “it would take some time.”
Part of GPD’s re-evaluation focused on the building’s educational adequacy, such as flexibility of teaching space and features such as daylighting, which has been shown to impact academic achievement. The building’s safety and security capabilities were also under scrutiny.
“Some things can be changed very easily” through technology, Rainieri said, but implementing new concepts in crime prevention and other security measures would be more conducive to incorporation in a new building.
Cornerstone renovation to a pre-kindergarten through second-grade building discussed
Board member Danielle Schantz asked what it would mean for the master facilities plan timeline if the board decided to renovate Cornerstone as a pre-kindergarten through second-grade building, which is only one part of the total master plan for district facilities, instead of rebuild it on the same site.
In extensive discussion, it was concluded costs and co-funding could change.
The 33% co-funding through the OFCC is guaranteed for one year and two election cycles.
Going to the voters for a November bond issue would require starting the process in July, Superintendent Gabe Tudor said.
The process following passing of a bond issue, including hiring an architect and designing a building, would require “two and a half to three years before you’re ready to occupy a new facility,” Rainieri said.
“The responsibility (of the decision) is weighing heavily on each one of us,” board President Sue Herman said.
No decisions were made at the meeting.
Martin Yoder resigns as assistant principal of Edgewood Middle School
1. The board accepted the resignation of Martin Yoder as assistant principal of Edgewood Middle School, effective July 4, 2022.
2. The athletic handbook was given a first reading, with Schantz sharing her concern on second disciplinary offense penalties.
3. Herman asked for a moment of silence for the tragic school shooting in Texas. Schantz encouraged moving beyond a moment of silence “to do what you can as a member of any community to affect change,” no matter what a person thinks is the cause of the violence. Other than the home, a school should be the safest place a student can be, she said.
4. The board recognized this year’s retirees; and also the wheelchair basketball team as state champions and the accomplishments of girls tennis, girls swim/dive, boys swim/dive and girls bowling.
5. In public comments submitted on non-agenda items, two comments were made about transgender bullying and use of school restrooms. It is board policy not to respond to comments at the meeting at which they are asked, but to do so at a later date.
UP NEXT Regular session of the board, June 28, 7 p.m., Wooster High School large group instruction room, 515 Oldman Road
This article originally appeared on The Daily Record: Wooster school board hears new assessment of Cornerstone Elementary