LISBON - Preliminary design drawings for the new Beaver Local K-12 school building were presented to members of the BLSD Building and Grounds Committee following a brief meeting of the Beaver Local Board of Education on Thursday evening. Douglas Abbatiello, an architect with Olsavsky Jaminet Architects in Youngstown, and company president Ray Jaminet briefed committee members on the design process.
Abbatiello said a program of requirements has been submitted to the Ohio School Facilities Commission for approval, which is expected within a matter of weeks. He reminded the board that numerous design matters, such as square footage and the number of parking spaces, are determined in advance by the commission based on enrollment statistics and other factors.
Following the passage of a bond issue last March by voters, the OSFC agreed to cover $32.4 million of the $52.2 million project costs, giving the commission a say in key factors of the new building's parameters. At 234,000 square feet, the new Beaver Local School would be the largest K-12 facility in the state of Ohio
Numerous details of the design were discussed at length, though the most contentious was the revelation that groundbreaking on the site, which had been initially anticipated for March 2013, will not take place until August of that year. Some committee members, including former school board president Brian McKenzie, greeted the news with frustration. "You're not going to move dirt until August now?" he said. "I thought construction was going to start early in the spring."
"We're going to work on it," BLSD superintendent Kent Polen replied.
Board member Bill Croxall said that moving ahead cautiously, if more slowly, was preferable to moving quickly just to meet a previously-established timeline. "If we're going to live with this [building] for a long time, I'd rather take my time and take a beating and do it right than I would hurry up just because somebody wants to see dirt moving," he said.
McKenzie replied that the real issue was a five-month shift in the timeline so early in the process. "It's not about moving a shovel, it's about getting a timeframe so we can get the correct information out," he said.
BLSD president John Campbell called for a public meeting to appraise the community of progress on the project as it continues through the design phase and moves towards construction. Pat O'Hara concurred, saying he has, in his prior capacity as head of the bond issue campaign, heard numerous inquiries about the project and been unable to provide answers. Polen said the immediate need was to settle on the basics before bringing design plans, which could require changes, before the public.
Jaminet assured committee members that the project was still on course to be completed in time for the 2015-2016 school year. "Just remember September '15," he said.