Concessions made on Lake school, but A/C still there


MILLBURY — Rumors of wild inflation driving the new Lake Elementary into the ground are inflated, board of education members said.

At the January Lake Local Schools board meeting, Margene Akenberger, a former board member, asked if they were losing anything on the new school, due to skyrocketing costs.

“Some of the stuff I’m hearing is just outrageous,” she said. “Are we really having to cut back on room sizes?”

Superintendent Jim Witt said inflation and supply chain issues have impacted the project.

“We don’t have everything we want,” he said.

After the meeting, board member Nick Baer, who serves on the construction committee, said that some concessions have been made.

The extra spaces on the ends of the new school, which were going to be “flex space,” will not be immediately developed, he said.

“We haven’t totally lost that space, we can add it on in the future,” Baer said.

Important items, such as air conditioning, a gymnasium, kitchen and classrooms, will be in the new school, he said.

Board member Tim Krugh said the public should notice movement on the construction in April, right after spring break.

“It’s going to be chaotic in the beginning of the school year,” he added, with construction of the new building and students still attending classes in the old building.

“But, hopefully, that will be the only school year that there’s a major impact on it,” Krugh said.

This school year will end May 9, so construction can ramp up.

Lake voters in November 2021 approved a 6-mill levy that includes 2.7 mills for the new school and 3.3 mills to pay off the middle school bond.

The new two-story elementary will be 110,000 square feet and have 53 classrooms, compared to the current 32.

The new elementary will be a PK-6 building. The existing elementary houses PK-4, with grades 5-7 in the middle school and grades 8-12 in the high school.

The building should open in fall 2024.

Also at the meeting, Witt and the board praised the maintenance and custodial staff for extra work during the late December bitter cold and high wind.

“They were here working on the rooftop units,” Witt said. “There was one small pipe leak in the elementary, which is a big win for us.”

“It was well worth having the people here,” Krugh said, citing the burst radiators at the Wood County Museum. “They didn’t have anyone on site, and they had all kinds of damage there.”

Dave Shaffer, director of athletics and director of buildings and facilities, commended maintenance worker Dan Leady.

“We had multiple rooftop failures because of the high wind, and he was up there crawling on the roofs in the winds, getting things restarted so that the buildings didn’t freeze,” Shaffer said.

In other business, board member John Ervin, who was absent, was re-elected president. Brad Blandin will be vice president.

The board will continue to meet the third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. in the middle school library.

The board went into executive session to discuss appointment of an employee. No action was taken.

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