Eastwood juggles space after fire PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor   
Friday, 07 February 2014 10:52
File photo. Firefighters work to put out the fire at the Eastwood High School bus garage January 25, 2014. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
PEMBERVILLE - Now that school is back in session, Eastwood Schools administrators are focusing on where to move central office and bus garage operations.
According to a community email sent Sunday by Superintendent Brent Welker, the former Dowling Elementary School will be reopened for central office use, and the bus garage will move to the ag department at the high school.
The former elementary, located on Dowling Road near Tanglewood Golf Course, has been vacant for five years.
This action was chosen over placing modular classrooms on the district's central campus. Insurance money will be used to reopen the building.
Welker said Thursday that he briefly considered Webster Elementary, but space is limited there. 
With a nursing school on the second floor and preschool on the first floor, there were only two rooms available.
The central office staff is currently in a trailer on the main campus, but has to be out by Feb. 20.
Welker said staff will move into the Dowling building over Presidents' Day weekend.
"It will be in ready enough shape that we can function," Welker said. 
The district will have to set up a computer network that can connect to state and student software, and a phone system.
The heating units in the building "mostly work," Welker stated.
Insurance will cover the majority of the cost of the move, but Welker did not have a good estimate of how much that would be.
The insurance firm was going to provide funds to deliver and rent a modular on the main campus, but Welker said he thought the money would be better spent at Dowling.
"The Dowling building serves both short- and long-term issues for us."
The district had planned to auction the Dowling property in March.
"Using Dowling allows the district to take a long-term approach to possibly building a new office as part of an Ohio Schools Facilities Commission project for a new school on campus. Otherwise, we would have been forced into a short-term decision or pay rent on modulars after the insurance company felt the time had expired. Now we are able to use that money to help improve a space that can be used long-term if needed and then sold if need be down the road," Welker wrote in his email.
The district will put a ballot issue on in November to build a new elementary school. Welker said he hoped to add administrative offices to that building.
For the bus garage, one of the most difficult options was finding a place with an air compressor, welders and heat.
For $3,000, the district will raise the entrance to the current ag shop so that buses can be parked in there if needed for service.
The space already has many of the basic tools needed. Work on this space will begin this week.
Welker said numerous area schools offered space for Eastwood's buses.
"Everybody offered assistance of one form of another."
The buses that had windshield damage from the Jan. 25 fire were replaced in the Lake Schools garage.
Currently, buses are parked at the schools and at drivers' homes.
Students will be in school Presidents' Day, and the district is considering another Blizzard Bag day in March or April.
If the state allows four extra calamity days, taking the total to nine, the last day for Eastwood students will remain May 30. Eastwood as of today has been out 13 days, but will make up the lost days on Presidents' Day and with three Blizzard Bag days.
Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2014 11:31

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