South Side News & Notes
Coventry district selects GPD Group for construction project
COVENTRY — A firm headquartered close to home has been selected by officials of Coventry Local Schools to oversee the construction of a new high school.
Board member Vicki Tavenier recently announced GPD Group, of Akron, was selected by a committee of district and state officials to serve as the criteria architect for the project. The board met with GPD Group officials during a special meeting Aug. 8.
Tavenier said 13 firms were considered and then narrowed down to three. The three companies were interviewed by district officials and members of the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) before GPD Group ultimately was chosen, Tavenier said.
District officials now are meeting regularly with GPD Group professionals to develop a project timeline, she said.
In addition, meetings are going to be held with district staff members and the community so GPD Group can take into consideration everyone’s wishes when mapping out the new school.
District officials have said a ninth- through 12th-grade high school and gymnasium would be constructed at the site of the current Erwine Intermediate School. A construction company for the project has not yet been selected, however.
In the May 7 Primary/Special Election, voters approved Issue No. 5, a 5.99-mill levy and bond issue. Passage of the levy and bond issue allowed the district to receive $11 million from the OSFC for a $39.3 million construction and renovation project.
The present high school will be turned into a new elementary school for the district’s kindergarten through fifth-grade students, complete with numerous upgrades, specifically in the area of security, according to district officials.
Tavenier said the district administrative offices almost have completely been moved over to the Lakeview building for the 2013-14 school year, as part of the project.
She said the renovation component of the project is “in full swing.”
A roof project has been started at Coventry Middle School, and the old boilers in the building are in the process of being replaced with new ones, she added.
Tavenier said new windows also are on order for the middle school, and a roof project also has begun at the high school.
“This is a big, long process, but we are moving along,” she said.
The first community meeting with GPD Group will be held Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Coventry High School, 3089 Manchester Road.
The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will take place Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at the high school.
Gas line leaks cause temporary road closures in Coventry, Green
COVENTRY — Two separate gas line leaks caused by construction workers clipping natural gas lines caused the closure of two roads, including Manchester Road at Garson Road in Coventry Aug. 13, and Boettler Road between Tabs Drive and Corporate Woods Parkway in Green Aug. 14.
The Coventry incident occurred shortly after 9:30 a.m., when a contractor working on the Ohio Department of Transportation road-widening project on Manchester Road clipped a gas line, according to Coventry Fire Department Capt. Adam Rockich.
Rockich said a township zoning inspector happened to be in the area, which is mostly commercial, and smelled natural gas around 9:55 a.m. Coventry Fire responded to investigate, and a cloud of natural gas was detected crossing Manchester Road.
Rockich said measurements of air quality in the area showed a gas concentration of 37 percent at the highest point, and one house in the immediate area was evacuated.
Rockich said the cloud of natural gas started rising after crossing Manchester Road and moved into a grassy and wooded area, and the levels of natural gas concentration in the air “dropped significantly and fast.”
Officials from Dominion East Ohio Gas arrived in about 20 minutes after the call and turned off a 4-inch gas line about one hour later, according to Rockich.
Manchester Road was re-opened at 12:19 p.m.
The incident in Green closed a portion of Boettler Road for several hours to through traffic beginning at 3 p.m.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office Inspector William Holland stated a gas line was clipped in a construction area. Fire officials and deputies responded to the incident.
Summit County Republicans to make recommendations for Common Pleas vacancy
AKRON — The Summit County Republican Executive Committee will meet Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Portage Country Club, 240 N. Portage Path, to select three candidates to recommend to Gov. John Kasich to fill a judgeship left open by the July 31 retirement of Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judy Hunter.
According to party officials, the Executive Committee will make three recommendations for Hunter’s seat to Kasich, who will make the final selection.
Anyone interested in receiving a recommendation for the seat may submit a formal written application and résumé no later than 4 p.m. on Aug. 20 to: Alex Arshinkoff, chairman of the Summit County Republican Central Committee, 1755 Merriman Road, Suite 250, Akron, OH 44313.
Executive Committee Chairman Jonathan Pavloff and Arshinkoff have selected an Ad Hoc Screening Committee comprised of officers of the Summit County Republican Central Committee and Executive Committee for the selection process, according to party officials. The Ad Hoc Screening Committee will interview applicants Aug. 22 at noon at the Republican headquarters on Merriman Road. That committee will submit a formal report to the Summit County Republican Executive Committee for its final approval. The Executive Committee will recommend at least three names for Kasich’s consideration, according to party officials.
Proenza announces transition plan to new leadership
DOWNTOWN AKRON — At a regular meeting of The University of Akron’s (UA) Board of Trustees, UA President Luis Proenza announced he will leave the presidency June 30, 2014, and take on a full-time faculty role after more than 15 years of leading UA.
The Board unanimously approved the plan, and Board Chair Richard Pogue announced the creation of a privately endowed Chair in Higher Education and the Economy, modeled after Proenza’s contributions to UA. The Board of Trustees agreed to lead the effort to fund the chair with $1 million in privately donated monies.
Proenza will be the inaugural chair holder on July 1, 2016. Immediately following the completion of his presidency, he will begin a sabbatical he earned after serving as president for 10 years.
Proenza, who came to UA at the end of 1998, is serving the longest continuous presidency at Ohio’s public universities, according to UA officials. In recent years, he has discussed with trustees a strategy for a seamless transition to new leadership and a new role that would allow him to continue to contribute to higher education and student success.
Proenza will become president emeritus and, in addition to his current tenured professorship in biology, will be named university professor in the Office of Academic Affairs.
It is assumed that Proenza will hold the chair for at least 10 years. When he no longer holds the chair, it will be renamed the Luis M. Proenza Chair in Higher Education and the Economy.
Other terms of the agreement between Proenza and the Board call for him to receive an increase in base salary Jan. 1, from the current $425,000 to $500,000 during his final six months as president. His current salary of $425,000 has remained unchanged since Jan. 1, 2012. He will be entitled to a sabbatical leave equivalent to one year, with the base salary of $500,000 being the maximum payment during the sabbatical. When he returns to campus to assume his new role as a full-time tenured university professor, his salary will be reduced to 65 percent of his final base pay (or the salary of the highest paid full-time faculty member at UA, whichever is greater).
Proenza agreed to the 65 percent level in lieu of the 80 percent figure to which he was entitled under his original contract, according to UA officials. The agreement remains in force until the end of 2026. In addition, an annual privately funded stipend of $50,000 will be provided as the endowed chair holder, beginning July 1, 2016.
NEFCO accepting nominations for brownfields grant
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization (NEFCO) is accepting nominations of brownfields properties from individuals and entities interested in receiving a brownfields environmental assessment grant under the Summit County Brownfields Program.
Brownfields are abandoned or under-used industrial, commercial or institutional properties with suspected or known contamination involving hazardous substances or petroleum.
Properties must be eligible for assistance under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. NEFCO is the lead recipient of an EPA Brownfields Assessment Coalition Grant for Summit County communities only. NEFCO; the Mayors Association of Portage, Summit and Stark Counties; and the Development Financial Authority of Summit County are coalition members for this grant.
Funds cannot be used to clean up brownfields.
A nomination form must be submitted to begin the process of requesting consideration for these funds.
For details, contact Sylvia Chinn-Levy, program manager for economic development planning, at 330-252-0337. A nomination form can be downloaded by visiting www.nefcoplanning.org. The deadline for receiving nominations of brownfields sites is Aug. 26.
Allergies likely to flare
AKRON — The record spring rains and damp summer have resulted in conditions that are wreaking havoc on allergy sufferers, according to Akron General Medical Center officials.
“Ragweed season could potentially be more severe this year because of the amount of rain we’ve experienced throughout the Midwest, unless August and September are much drier,” said Dr. Bela Faltay, chief of service, allergy, at Akron General Health System. “Molds are also going to be higher, causing more distress to allergic individuals.”
Among North American plants, weeds produce the largest amounts of allergenic pollen. Other sources of weed pollen come from sagebrush, redroot pigweed, lamb’s quarters, Russian thistle and English plantain.
Emily Chesnic, Stephanie Kist and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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