New Castle News

March 15, 2014

City school board considers building improvements

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Improvements to the George Washington school could cost up to $2.3 million.

Or the New Castle school district could delay improvement projects.

Cassandra Renninger and David Esposito of Eckles Architecture and Engineering this week presented the board with proposals that focused on improving security at the main entrance off the back parking lot and upgrading the administrative offices, renovating the former swimming pool area in the basement, and reconfiguring the second-floor lobby to add meeting/classrooms at the ends.

Several alternatives and price ranges were presented for each project.

Esposito noted other options were considered. These included moving administrative offices to the front of the building and creating additional parking on the Euclid Avenue side and additions to the structure. These options were disregarded as not being cost efficient, he said.

Options under consideration include:

•Building a floor over the unused swimming pool to create a 1,400-square-foot fitness program center. The district received a three-year, $800,000 Fit for Life grant to purchase physical education supplies.

In addition, a 400-square-foot reading resource room and a 350-square-foot science storage room would be created.

Estimated construction costs — which would include some demolition, creating handicap accessibility to the area and improvements to stairs, floors, doors, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical — are $313,950 to $347,078.

•Second-floor corridor conversion would involve creating classrooms at the ends of the upstairs hall between the gym and auditorium. Construction costs range from $37,934 to $41,927.

•Several options were presented for the security/administration office improvements.

They range from installing a security system similar to that at the Lockley building to office improvements ranging from a simple renovation to gutting and reconfiguring the office/guidance/nurse’s room to add more office and storage space, a conference room and break room with kitchenette.

Options could involve a large or small addition to the building. Costs range from $1.3 million to $1.58 million.

After the presentation, superintendent John Sarandrea noted it “would be nice to have more space, but safety is the reason” for considering renovations.

“Security is always our number one priority," he said. “Then classroom space improvements, especially those in the basement where water is coming in.”

He also noted building deficiencies that must be corrected before other construction projects are undertaken.

The district is awaiting bids to replace floors throughout the building and correct roof problems.

Sarandrea said improvements must be considered for basement classrooms, some of which are musty and have water problems.