Good things come to those who wait.
And for regular users of the Genoa High School gymnasium, the clock is ticking down on the $1.4 million renovation slated for completion by Dec. 27.
“We are ahead of schedule right now,” Superintendent Dennis Mock said as he walked through the construction area Monday morning.
In fact, the district could get an early Christmas present. “They are talking we could be done around Thanksgiving,” Mock said.
|Superintendent Dennis Mock looks over the new con-
struction at Genoa High School. (Press photo by Ken
That would be just in time for the start of the 2012-13 Comets boys and girls basketball seasons. A backup plan is already in place though should contractors need the additional time. Practices will be held at the middle and elementary schools. And away games have been scheduled for the early part of the seasons.
The gym overhaul includes a new gym floor extended 30 feet to the north, new boys and girls locker rooms, a concession stand, coach’s office and a west wing update that includes new paint, lighting and public restrooms. The gym extension also will add more than 300 bleacher seats, bringing seating capacity to nearly 1,300.
The renovation is the last major construction project included in the 1.9-mill bond levy passed by voters in 2008. The new elementary building opened in 2011 was the largest project undertaken by the school district. Its completion solidified all three district buildings on one central campus on Genoa-Center Road along with the administration building.
The bond levy has a 28-year life and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $60 annually, according to district treasurer Bill Nye. The levy generates about $166,000 toward the district’s $5.2 million share. The Ohio State Facilities Commission funneled the remaining money toward the district’s $24.2 million overall refurbishing plan.
The upbeat forecast for the gym completion is partly based on contractors surpassing a critical point late last week, the superintendent said.
Four support columns were removed along with the whole north side of the building.
In their place, Black Swamp Contractors, under the direction of the project general contractor, Harp Construction of Northwood, installed a 33,500 pound, steel beam. The installation required two large cranes and two large Gradall machines.
“It threaded in real nice. We were pretty happy about it,” said Tom Koepfler, the on-site project manager.
The 4-foot wide, 70-foot long beam was built in Arkansas then trucked to Medina for fabrication. It was so large, in fact, that the truck carrying it could only travel during daylight hours to meet codes for municipalities on the route, Mock said.
The next major hurdle is bringing in the wood for the new court.
“Once they get the site buttoned up and the new heating system in then the wood will be delivered,” Mock said. It has to cure to 72 degrees before installation and has to remain at that setting, he explained.
The new heating and air conditioning system will be ready around Oct. 20, followed by the connecting of the fire suppression system and the electrical changeover.
The project’s progress attracts a daily check up from a number of people.
“All the board members have been in and out at different points,” said Mitch Hoyles, president of the board of education. “It’s fun to go through and look at the development.”
Hoyles is proud of what the district has accomplished and its ability to stay within budget to finish the proposed projects. There has, he said, been some talk of the newer buildings as “huge structures.”
Still, he said, “It’s only designed to be a good environment for the children – to be comfortable and to encourage learning.”
“We also want it to be welcoming to the community and as accessible as it can be.”
The gym project caps a number of projects phased in for over the past three years for the high school building built in 1963.
The work began with a $139,000 high school roof renovation and new restrooms for the football stadium, which replaced the portable toilets.
A year later, the high school gym got a new roof for $104,000. Down the hallway, contractors began work on the high school auditorium renovation complete with a resealing of the stage as well as new sound systems, acoustics, carpeting and seats. The high school science lab renovation followed in the fall for about $173,000.
The induction of the Comets Football Team of 1975 into the Genoa Athletics Hall of Fame this past weekend was the first big function in the new auditorium. Alumni came from as far as California and Alabama.
“They couldn’t believe it,” Mock said. “When they were here, the high school was the only thing here. The rest of it was cornfields.”