A $2.1 million dual project to construct an athletic complex and add to a vocational agriculture building at Fayette Local Schools is underway and should be completed in July.
The Mel Lanzer Company of Napoleon, which was awarded a $580,000 bid Jan. 31 to construct the building addition, already has begun setting up shop on the school campus. A $1.57 million bid was approved for Ohio Irrigation Lawn Sprinkler Systems, Inc. of Dayton to build the baseball, softball, and track complex.
Consecutive ground-breaking ceremonies are scheduled Feb. 28 beginning at 9 a.m., although continued mild weather may allow a jump-start on the 2,900 square-foot agriculture building addition. The Mel Lanzer Company has already begun installing fencing.
“We’re mobilized now,” said Brent Gray, the company’s senior project manager. “Could (construction go) faster? It certainly could, if everything falls into place the way it’s supposed to. If we get a really wet spring, that could hamper us.”
The completion date for both projects is July 20, in time for their operation during the 2017-18 school year.
Lower than estimated bids will permit some upgrades to the athletic complex from the architect’s original plans. The original six-lane, all-weather latex outdoor track in the athletic complex has been expanded to an eight-lane, longer-lasting polyurethane model. Another parking lot will be added to the complex, as well as improved fencing and a brick back stop with nylon netting.
The complex will rival the quality of sports facilities in the Wauseon and Archbold school districts, Fayette Local Schools Superintendent Erik Belcher said.
The vocational agriculture building project will mean an expansion to accommodate over 90 students currently sharing a space designed for 30. It will include separate wood and metal labs, labs for hydroponics, aquaculture, and food science, a Computer Numeric Control machine, a plasma cutting tool, and residential electrical and plumbing applications.
The agriculture program would also gain room to begin an apprenticeship program for workforce development. Ag students can learn efficiency in the workforce while earning money and school credit.
And the program will begin Occupational Health and Safety Administration training for various certifications.
“We’re right on track with everything we set out to do,” Belcher said. “We’re maximizing everything that we could have gotten.”
The total dual project will be overseen by Beilharz Architects Inc. of Defiance, which has also completed major projects at Ohio State University in Columbus and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
The project will be funded by a single-vote package approved by voters last August. It contains a 20-year, 1.6-mill bond issue generating $1.4 million, and a 1.1-mill continuing improvement tax generating $72,214 annually for the project’s upkeep and maintenance.
That will be coupled with $400,000 from the school district’s general fund and $100,000 from its maintenance fund, and $200,000 from the Charles Climo Fund, a bequeathal to Fayette schools. And in November the school district’s Athletic Boosters club pledged an additional $155,000 to add dugouts and scoreboards to the athletic complex by fall, and support a future field house project.
Belcher said the only disruption in school operations may be to the agriculture classes, “but our ag kids will be using it as a teachable experience. This is going to impact our education to the positive.”
Fayette Board of Education President Kirk Keiser said the athletic side of the project will be used to host sporting events and will be shared with the community.
“We plan on working hand-in-hand with the village to provide as many opportunities with the community and with youth as possible,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about seeing things actually built. It’s going to be a joyous occasion to see it come to fruition.”
Belcher said the completed project will enhance community pride.
“The school is a nice place where families can come and feel safe,” he said. “The schools are the pride of our communty. I think it’s going to be great for our kids and our community.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.