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Published: Wednesday, 4/19/2006

Bids expected soon for Union School

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Maumee school board expects to receive bids for renovating Union Elementary in the next few weeks.

The board approved advertising for the bids on April 3 and OK d a construction budget of $2,052,380, a slight increase over its expected cost of about $1.9 million.

The 260 Union students have been attending classes in the old Fort Miami building since late December, and some additional work was discovered after they were out of the building, the earliest part of which was built in the 1870s. Other parts were added in the 1920s and 1930s.

You just don t know what you have until you get into it, board President Glenn Rambo said.

Treasurer Paul Brotzki said the added work includes general upkeep, such as painting classrooms.

Other renovations include work on the heating system and lighting, installing new boilers and a new roof, redoing floors, enlarging the cafeteria, moving the office up front and adding space for a teacher work area, remodeling restrooms, and upgrading classrooms. The project is to be completed by early 2007, Mr. Brotzki said.

Mr. Rambo said when the work is done, the building still won t have the amenities of district s other three elementary buildings. Two of those were built in the 1960s, and Fort Miami is new.

You just can t take an 1870 building and make it brand new, Mr. Rambo said.

School officials have raised the possibility of closing the school if bids come in too high.

The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission had recommended the district abandon the building as part of a $56 million plan for the district. The state would have paid about $6 million.

The district chose not to follow the commission s plan and hired consultants to develop a $42 million plan. Construction is being funded by a bond issue approved in May, 2003.

Mr. Rambo said it wasn t possible to build a school to state guidelines on the site.

Although the district would consider sending students elsewhere if it was deemed beneficial from an educational standpoint rather than staying in an unrenovated Union, closing the school isn t a goal, Mr. Rambo said.

The board made a decision to go ahead with renovating Union school back in 2002, 2003, and we d like to follow through on that decision and complete the project, he said.



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