Northeastern resolves budget issues, moves forward with construction

Northeastern Local School District officials have resolved the budget issues for the new preK through 12th grade schools and are moving forward with construction plans, according to a district official.

“The district is continuing to work with construction partners toward reconciling the estimates and the budget,” Superintendent John Kronour said.

The district postponed construction in July until they could address “significant budget issues.” Officials were able to resolve the issues and reduce costs, scheduling a groundbreaking ceremony for both schools in May.

The district will update the community on the facilities project during a meeting at 7 tonight at Kenton Ridge High School, 4444 Middle Urbana Road.

Kronour said district officials have been working to redesign the project to reduce costs, which were 20 percent over budget at the end of last year.

“The district has engaged in redesigning the project to reduce construction costs and in valve engineering - a process of identifying features in the buildings to reduce costs and creating prioritized alternate lists of options to add back to the facility if additional funds are available,” he said.

RELATED: Northeastern new school estimates still 20% over budget

Although changes are being made, Kronour said they will not be that noticeable.

“A lot of the changes will not be noticeable to students, staff, and community members when they are in the new schools. The buildings will still have all of the features you would expect to find in a school,” he said.

According to the district, some adjustments made to the plans will:

  • Reduce 7,328 square footage from Northeastern preK-12 school
  • Reduce 17,233 square footage from Kenton Ridge preK-12 school
  • Simplify building shapes
  • Lower cost of construction materials
  • Reduce scope of standing seam metal roof
  • Reduce parking space quantities and dimensions to zoning minimum

Voters approved a 37-year $79-million bond issue in May 2018 for the two new PreK-12 facilities. In addition to the bond, the state will contribute 40 percent, or $40-million, to the project through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC).

The OFCC sets a budget for a new school construction project by calculating the district’s enrollment, OFCC’s recommended square footage for each student and the OFCC’s per-square-foot costs for construction.

The district was given a budget of $228 per square foot for each building, with $42-million for Northeastern and $57-million for Kenton Ridge. If the district goes outside of budget, a portion of their Local Funding Initiative (LFI) dollars will cover the increased costs.

“The district has LFI dollars that can be used towards costs, and expects the OFCC to uphold their statutory and contractual obligations to cover 40 percent of the cost of the basic educational programming of new schools,” Kronour said.

RELATED: Northeastern working ‘tirelessly’ to lower costs of new schools

The groundbreaking ceremony is set for Friday, May 15, according to the district’s Facebook page.

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