New Castle News

Local News

June 13, 2014

School changes prepare for third-graders

NEW CASTLE — Changes will be made inside George Washington Intermediate Elementary School to prepare for third-graders in the fall.

The New Castle school board approved three contracts totaling $323,626 for conversion of the former George Washington indoor swimming pool area.

District business manager Joe Ambrosini explained at Monday’s meeting that the former pool area, currently empty, will be filled in and an interactive gymnasium and reading and science resources rooms will be created there. The work will be done over the summer.

The 60-by-30-foot pool, built in 1928, is empty and the room is used for storage.

“I swam in that pool, boy,” said Joseph Martin, a maintenance employee with 34 years of service in the district.

He remembers swimming during gym class. The water was 8 feet deep on one end and 4 feet on the other, he said, and the teachers would instruct swimmers at the deep end and non-swimmers at the shallow end.

George Gabriel, former teacher and administrator and now a school board member, said the pool was closed in the late 1980s during consolidation because it was in need of expensive repairs.

Superintendent John J. Sarandrea explained the interactive gym will be set up where students will go through different modules that promote cardiovascular health, balance, hand and eye coordination and speed and agility drills.

Many of the modules are game-based, such as the Wii, but are much more advanced, he said. They include activities such as dancing, boxing, and kickboxing.

Sarandrea said the administrators visited a similar interactive gym in the Mohawk district. New Castle plans to have one in two buildings.

“The students absolutely love it,” he said. “They won't want to sit it out any longer.”

Ambrosini noted the school already had reading and science resources rooms, but those will be converted into classrooms in anticipation of third-graders moving in.

The district had advertised for bids for the pool conversion project and painting the school interior. Contracts went to:

•Declan Construction, Brookfield, Ohio, $169,000, lowest of three bids for construction

•D&G Mechanical, West Middlesex, $109,000, lowest of three bids for heating and air conditioning

•Blackhawk Neff of New Castle, $45,626, lowest of three bids for electrical construction.

Board member Dr. Marilyn Berkely questioned the electrical contract proposal, asking if the bids had to go to the lowest bidder and whether other board members were comfortable with using the company. No one else objected and approval was by a 6-0 vote.

David DiGiammarino, Barbara Razzano and Mark Kirkwood did not attend the meeting.

The board also approved a contract with Masterpiece Painting of Warren, Ohio, the lower of two bidders, for interior painting.

The cost is $243,545 for interior painting, $245 per word graphic and $17,380 for refinishing wooden doors.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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