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King CLC construction behind schedule

4/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Students not expected to move in until January 2014

Seniors Mark Belanger and Katie Miller were honored at the April 8 Akron Public Schools Board of Education meeting for their outstanding swimming careers at Firestone High School.
Photo: Becky Tompkins
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron Public Schools (APS) officials are not satisfied with one of the construction companies working on the new King Community Learning Center (CLC).

The Board of Education April 8 authorized Superintendent David James or Executive Director of Facility Planning and Capital Improvements Paul Flesher to terminate part or all of the contract with Giambrone Construction Inc., of Hudson, because of noncompliant work on the building’s fluid-applied air barrier.

Flesher explained that it’s a barrier that’s sprayed on the exterior before the brick is applied to help prevent moisture from getting into the building. If it is not applied correctly, mold and mildew can form inside the building.

The APS has notified Giambrone that its work does not meet specifications, but the company has not submitted “an acceptable plan of action to remedy the defective work,” according to James.

Board President Jason Haas said the problem was discovered a few months ago. He said Giambrone now has 15 days to respond with a remedial plan, and failing that, its bonding company then has 10 more days to outline corrective action.

If they don’t comply, the board will then have to find another contractor to do the work, Haas said, of removing the brick that has been applied and reapplying the barrier.

The biggest problem, he said, is the building was supposed to be finished in July so staff and students could begin school in the new building in August. But Flesher has already said the completion date will now not be before October because of the air barrier problem. Move-in has been moved back to Christmas vacation and school opening to January 2014.

But now, with possibly another month’s delay waiting for compliance and, if necessary, rebidding the work, Haas said, “We could potentially lose a whole school year.”

APS has so far made one of three payments to Giambrone, Haas said, on a contract worth more than $1 million total.

In other business, the school board honored two members of the Firestone High School swim team for their achievements.

Haas introduced senior Katie Miller as “the most decorated swimmer in Firestone history,” a history that includes many outstanding swimmers and divers, including Olympians.

In February, Miller won the state championship in the 200-yard individual medley (IM) and 100-yard backstroke. She was also state IM champion in her sophomore year, according to APS officials.

She was state runner-up in the backstroke her junior year and in the 500-yard freestyle her sophomore year. According to APS officials, she holds school records in the 200 IM, 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard butterfly and 100-, 200- and 500-yard freestyle events.

According to APS officials, in all, Miller is a 19-time All-American swimmer. She is an International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Firestone with a 3.75 grade-point-average (GPA) and plans to attend the University of Notre Dame, Haas said.

Senior Mark Belanger also has a 3.75 GPA in Firestone’s IB program, according to APS officials. He won the state championship this year in the 100-yard freestyle and was runner-up in the event last year. He holds the district record in the 100 free.

According to APS officials, Belanger is a five-time All-American swimmer who holds school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly. He plans to attend The Ohio State University next year, Haas said.

Selection is in progress for the winners of the Innovation Generation Scholarships (IGS), the “payment” the APS is receiving from The University of Akron (UA) in exchange for the Central-Hower High School building.

So far, 57 APS seniors have qualified for the full-ride scholarships, with 23 of those from Firestone, according to APS officials.

Board member Lisa Mansfield announced the list of the seniors printed in the board’s letter for the meeting represents just the ones who have qualified so far; there may be more after some students take the ACT test again, and some might not accept the scholarship.

These are last-dollar scholarships, Haas explained, meaning that any other scholarships or grants will be deducted before the IGS money is used.

According to APS officials, to qualify, students must have gone to an APS school for four years before graduation. Those students are eligible if they have been accepted at UA and have a 3.0 GPA and at least a 27 ACT score; or a 26 ACT score and are in the top 10 percent in their class; or have a 3.5 GPA and at least a 24 on the ACT.

The scholarships are worth up to $12,998 each for 2013-14, according to Mansfield.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for April 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway in Downtown Akron.

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