LISBON - Discussions of the new K-12 school carried over into the regular meeting of the Beaver Local Board of Education on Monday evening.
New board member Jerry Barnett and the returning Lance Shultz attended the meeting, with Shultz supplying the bulk of questions asked during a presentation by Doug Abbatiello and John DeFrance, architects from the firm of Olsavsky Jaminet, responsible for the design of the new building.
As the slides of a Powerpoint presentation flashed across the screen in the high school auditorium, Shultz stated that it was the first opportunity he had to view them and pointedly asked DeFrance when they might be available to the public on the Beaver Local Web site. District treasurer Robert Barrett replied that the entire presentation would be added to the BL site by the end of this week.
Shultz also inquired about the student capacity for the new K-12 building, which Polen estimated at 1,750. Shultz shared concerns about the ability of the new school to handle a student population that presently eclipses that figure by approximately 150 students.
"Are we buying materials, desks, whatever it may be, for 1,900 students or 1,700 students?" Shultz asked. Polen said the bidding for furnishings will not be made until the end of the construction process in 2015, by which time he says the student population will be down to projected levels. "Our enrollment has been dropping," Polen said. "In two years, we'll probably be down to 1,800 or 1,825."
Polen emphasized that the Ohio School Facilities Commission was responsible for deciding the school's size, based upon not just current enrollment, but also future enrollment trends.
At the board's November meeting,
district treasurer Robert Barrett outlined a projected drop in enrollment at BL over the next several years. According to state figures quoted by Barrett, the majority of the district's 1,900 students are clustered in the high school grades, with much lower figures in the elementary and kindergarten grade levels. As those upperclassmen graduate, students presently in the lower grades are expected to bring a smaller overall student body with them as they advance through the system.
DeFrance interjected that the building plan specifies 150 student lockers per grade level, which, spread over 12 grades, comes to 1,800. "The building features are accommodating the students levels as they are now," he said.
Polen says the early site plan has been finished on schedule except for paving work. An early cold snap late last month that lowered ground temperatures to less than 40 degrees prevented crews from laying preliminary blacktop, he said, though some curbing has been completed. Sewer and water tie-ins have yet to be done, but infrastructure for both are in place.
Following concerns from Eisenhart about soil quality, the board unanimously approved three change orders, the most expensive of which extends water, sanitation and electrical piping north of the school site to an area designated for future concession stands, at a cost of $9,794.
A vote on a new five-year contract for Superintendent Polen that was tabled at the November board meeting was not mentioned, though at that time it was said to be brought up at the "next" meeting. However, an executive session for unspecified personnel matters scheduled in the agenda for the middle of the meeting was moved to the end. "There will be no action upon our return," board President John Campbell said.
Before that, however, Campbell presented plaques to departing board members Thomas Wolfe and Patrick O'Hara in recognition of their service to the district. O'Hara lost a bid to retain his seat in November after 14 months on the board, while Wolfe's departure comes after serving a four-year term that began in 2010. "In recognition for your outstanding service to the students and the community as members of the Beaver Local Board of Education, thank you," Campbell said.
In other business:
* The board accepted the retirement of Vicki Donahue, head cook at West Point Elementary School, effective Jan. 1, following 20 years of service to the district.
* Board members voted to hold their annual organizational meeting for 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14 in the Red & White room at the high school. The regular board meeting for January will be incorporated into the meeting.