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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2005

TPS ramps up construction of buildings

The new Oakdale Elementary School in East Toledo is in the finishing stage of construction for Toledo Public Schools.
The new Oakdale Elementary School in East Toledo is in the finishing stage of construction for Toledo Public Schools.

Toledo Public Schools new building program, scaled back last month to possibly close seven schools because of enrollment declines, will accelerate in the next two school years as the district begins to manage construction at more than 20 new buildings.

The Board of Education on Tuesday night accepted bids for a new Start High School and a new Libbey Middle School.

School leaders are particularly hopeful Libbey Middle School, to be built at Nebraska Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard, will help draw students back to that learning community and prevent the closing of Libbey High School.

I think a new building would be a draw for parents, said Jan Kilbride, a district assistant superintendent of high schools. But along with a new building, we have to provide academic reasons for them to come.

Mosser Construction won the $20.5 million general trades bid for the new Start High. The rest of the bids, including site work, fire protection, heating and air conditioning, and electric, total nearly $14.9 million.

J.L. Judge Construction won the nearly $7 million general trades bid for Libbey Middle School. The remainder of the bids for the new 550-student school total almost $5.3 million.

Voters approved funding 23 percent of the building program, and the state is funding the remaining 77 percent.

Dan Burns, chief business manager for the district, said most schools in the first two segments of the five-segment project will be bid by January.

Before mid 2006, construction will begin on Start and Bowsher high schools; Burroughs, Chase, Cherry, Elmhurst, Garfield, Glenwood, Keyser, Navarre, and Stewart elementaries, and Byrnedale, DeVeaux, Libbey, Leverette, McTigue, and Start middle schools. Officials expect construction at the new Oakdale Elementary and Waite Middle School to be completed before the end of this year, about three months ahead of schedule.

As I have said all along, I believe an enrollment review would be appropriate in 2008 because between 2006 and 2007 a great deal of buildings are supposed to be completed, Mr. Burns said.

The Toledo Board of Education agreed in August on a plan that eventually could close seven schools, but officials said the proposed school closures could be averted if student enrollment for the district increases.

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