For some area communities, progress in 2010 was measured by the pace of rebuilding projects in the wake of a deadly tornado on June 5. Residents, businesses, and local governments alike quickly embarked on efforts to get back to normal.
Their efforts continue, but follow the tornado’s path today and you’ll see little reminder of the devastation it caused.
Signs of recovery from the economic downturn are also evident. Norplas Industries in the City of Northwood announced expansion plans and small businesses opened; a groundbreaking ceremony was held in August for a casino in East Toledo, and some area villages are realizing a rebound in their Main Street districts.
Within a week or so, Lake School Superintendent Jim Witt anticipates announcing the date of a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Lake High School building.
Witt and members of the school board unveiled preliminary design plans in December for the new school, which has a price tag of approximately $25.5 million and will cover about 143,000 square feet.
School officials foresee a savings of time and money with the system they’ve undertaken for constructing the new building.
School board president Tim Krugh said the “bridging design-build” method will also reduce the number of students deciding to leave the Lake district because the new building will be open for the 2012-13 school year instead of a year later, which likely would have resulted in some high school students opting to move to other districts.
The district has been leasing a building on Tracy Road from Owens Community College for high school classes.
“Things have gone very well at our facility on Tracy Road,” Witt said. “Our kids and staff have adjusted in a way that should make our community proud of its young people and its school system.
The biggest challenge that we have had to address was early on in our attempt to convert the building into a facility that was suitable for high school students to learn skills that will enable them to be productive citizens in the 21st century. Making that conversion was a race against time. With the help of many volunteers and a dedicated and loyal staff we were able to do so before the start of the school year.”
Under the bridging design-build method, construction will begin without every design detail for the building being finished.
The school board has retained The Collaborative as the architect for the project.
Krugh said he and members of a planning team of other board members, administrators, Pat O’Brien, an engineer with Project Management Consultants, a Cleveland firm, met with the architect in January to discuss design plans for the initial phase of the project.
The architect will, in turn, represent the planning team when the designs are presented to Rudolph/Libbe, the general contractor.
Rudolph/Libbe has a four-person team in place that will provide a guaranteed maximum price for the architect’s design documents, O’Brien said.
“The documents will begin to detail the systems that operate inside the building as well as all of the connections and details of the interfaces between materials but will not be 100 percent compete,” he said. “The construction documents phase…finalizes the selections of material types and potential manufacturers that the design-build team can solicit pricing from to finalize their costs that will have to fit under the guaranteed maximum price.
“The design-build team can commence construction prior to completion of the final design documents, or construction documents, cutting at least a year off the normal process of designing 100 percent of the facility before beginning the bidding process.”
Dan Tabor, lead architect for The Collaborative, said classrooms will be clustered in “academic houses” in the building rather than in long corridors. Portions of the classroom areas will be reinforced to provide safe locations during tornadoes, he said, adding the new building will retain some features the public wanted from the destroyed school, including a fixed-seat auditorium and a field house.
Krugh said the school board has a two-year lease with Owens that costs at least $4 a square foot for about 55,000 square feet of space.
“There was no guarantee we could get a third year,” he said. “Beyond that, we believe if students knew that it would take a third year to build there would be huge defections to other school systems and the loss of money from the state for each student. We’ve had a few kids leave already.”
He said the construction project will be conducted under prevailing wage rules.