Northeastern High School officials are reevaluating cost estimates for plans for two new schools. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Photo: Jeff Guerini
Photo: Jeff Guerini

Northeastern working ‘tirelessly’ to lower costs of new schools

Northeastern Local School officials have been “working tirelessly” to address budget issues for their two new schools.

In July the district announced it was postponing construction plans on their new schools until they could address, “significant budget issues.”

“In the month since we received the first cost estimates and updated the community about the budget issues, we have taken several steps to tackle the discrepancy between our budget and the estimates,” a statement from the district said.

More: Northeastern schools reexamines building project after budget concerns

According to the statement, steps taken by the district over the last month include:

• Meeting several times to review the estimates and the designs and discuss avenues to align the estimates with the districts budget

• Pursuing and receiving approval from the state for variances, which involve using an alternate building exterior closure system and HVAC system, that will reduce costs without sacrificing quality and allow for more efficient timelines for the project

• Working with Ruetschle Architects to revise initial designs for the building to be as cost efficient as possible

• Continuing to work with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to review the plan and material options for the building with the intent of delivering the project on budget

“Addressing these budget issues remains our top priority. We, unfortunately, are in a construction market that is significantly raising the cost to build when compared to the OFCC estimates given to use at the beginning of this project,” the statement said. “We remain, though, committed to our community values of a safe learning environment for all students and a project that fits that budget we established through the OFCC’s process.”

Northeastern Local Schools Superintendent John Kronour said previously all plans for Kenton Ridge PreK-12 have been, “suspended until the district can resolve the budget problems with Northeastern PreK-12.”

Related: 3 Clark County districts building new schools over next five years

Northeastern is in the process of finalizing floor plans for two new schools — with a total price tag of $120 million.

One campus will be adjacent to the current South Vienna school and will be ‘Northeastern PreK-12.’ The second campus will be on the property near Kenton Ridge High School and will be ‘Kenton Ridge PreK-12.”

“While the current designs are not extravagant, we believe that there are ares where we can realize savings. We are taking a comprehensive look at these plans to make necessary adjustments in the design and to accommodate rising construction cost,” a previous statement from the district said.

Funding for the new schools will come from local and state money. Voters approved a 37-year $79 million bond issue in May 2018 by a margin of 56% to 44%. In addition to the bond, the state will contribute around $41 million to the project through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

Parents with any questions about the suspension of the construction project are encouraged to contact a member of the Northeastern Local School District Board of Education or Kronour at johnkronour@nelsd.org.

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