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The Perrysburg Board of Education last night authorized the administration to solicit bids for what is expected to be more than $1.5 million worth of renovations to the Commodore Building.
Superintendent Tom Hosler told board members he was well aware this was a difficult time to be asking for money for such expenditures.
However, Mr. Hosler said, "We are only asking for an investment to create an acceptable environment for staff and a safe and secure area for community members."
To make his case, he showed photographs of the administrative offices kept in updated old school buildings by the Maumee, Sylvania, and Washington Local districts, then showed analogous areas in the Commodore Building.
By comparison, Perrysburg's administrative quarters appeared shabby and cramped, including the two "unisex" bathrooms.
None of this was news to the board, which last year decided, amid much public debate, to tear down the western sections of the Commodore, the oldest building in the district, and keep the rest of the well-worn building for its administrative headquarters.
The decision was made after an attempt to sell it fell through. The board deliberated for years on what to do with the Commodore, the oldest part of which dated to 1894 before it was torn down.
The building's roof leaks and its boiler needs replacement. Before the demolition, the Commodore's annual utility bills were $125,000 for 20 to 25 employees.
The renovation project proposed by Duket Porter Associates, the district's architect, envisions three phases over perhaps three years:
Phase one, costing an estimated $572,705.91 would add a new main entrance on Louisiana Avenue, replace the roof, outside doors, and parking lot, west-side windows, and paint the exterior of the 1957 gymnasium. There would also be tuckpointing and heating, ventilating, and air conditioning work.
The next two phases, costing $575,265.14 and $543,155.40, would also include more HVAC and window replacement and take care of the refurbishment of office areas.
Board President Valerie Hovland said she thought the new parking lot's 44 spaces would be inadequate for special events at the building.
Bernie Merritt, a representative of the architectural firm, said additional spaces would require the approval of Perrysburg's Board of Zoning Appeals.
Board member Walt Edinger expressed concern about unforeseen future costs. Mr. Merritt, in turn, expressed confidence in his proposal for the project.
He noted that the third floor of the building would receive new windows and fire doors and be "move-in ready" if and when it was needed in the future.
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