The Swanton Board of Education came closer to a resolution at its meeting last Wednesday on where to place students for the 2017-18 school year in light of the likely closing of the middle school building on Cherry Street.
The discussion centered around a proposal made by Superintendent Jeff Schlade at the board meeting in May, in which alterations could be made to both Park Elementary School and Crestwood Elementary School. If such changes are made, it would allow for grades K-3 to attend Crestwood Elementary and 4-8 to attend Park School.
On July 14, Schlade, along with Park Elementary and Crestwood Elementary Principal Paulette Baz, Middle School Principal Matt Smith, and members from Munger Munger and Associates, an architectural firm in Toledo, met and concluded that just renovating Park School would not be enough to resolve the situation.
“There would have to be some sort of new construction to take place, in all honesty, to make it possible,” said Schlade. “Whether it was plopping down modulars or actually adding onto the building.”
The idea was brought up at that meeting to explore adding in four new classrooms at Crestwood, and two regular classrooms, plus a band and choir room, at Park to create the necessary space. Munger Munger and Associates then reconvened with Schlade and board treasurer Joyce Kinsman on July 20 to discuss new building layouts at Park and Crestwood.
In the new plan, Crestwood would have four new classrooms on the northeast side of the building, while Park would add four onto the west side of the building. The high school has space for preschool to be held there.
However, in order to get this project going, Schlade requested that it be voted on at the board’s meeting in August. He also suggested a working session of the board at the beginning of the month.
The board tentatively scheduled that meeting for Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 7 p.m.
One of the main talking points at this gathering will be whether Munger Munger and Associates should be the general manager of the construction project or just in charge of the architectural side.
“If we are going to do this, I want somebody that’s in our corner that makes sure things are done right,” said board president Steve Brehmer. “And if they are not done right, (we can) bring the hammer down and say, well you’re not getting paid until this stuff gets done.
“If we are gonna do, I consider this major construction, I’d like to at least know the cost to hire somebody to be the project manager for us.”
“Sounds like a good opportunity to go out and get multiple bids from somebody with a lot of experience,” added board member Chris Nijakowski.
Max Householder can be reached at 419-335-2010
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