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Coventry district renovations on schedule

7/17/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

With summer break halfway through, renovations taking place within the Coventry Local Schools District remain on schedule, board member Mark Conner reported at the Board of Education’s July 15 meeting.

He said a great deal of work already has been completed, specifically at the Coventry Middle School and bus garage.

“Things are getting finished,” Conner said. “It looks nothing like it did before.”

The May 2013 approval by voters of a 5.99-mill levy and bond issue allowed the district to receive $11 million from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) (now part of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission) for a $39.3 million renovation project in the district and the construction of a new ninth- through 12th-grade high school and gymnasium at the site of Erwine Intermediate School. The new high school and gymnasium will be constructed through the levy/bond issue and funds provided by the OSFC.

Conner said a new air conditioning unit and new awnings soon would be installed at the middle school that also received a new boiler system and windows.

He added the gymnasium has been revamped and classrooms have replaced the former administration wing of the building.

During the 2014-15 school year, the current Coventry High School will house the Fourth Grade Academy, and those classrooms have been finished, Conner said.

The construction of a gymnasium is in progress at the current high school building, which ultimately will serve as Coventry Elementary School once the new high school is constructed, he said.

Conner additionally reported modular classrooms have been set up behind Turkeyfoot Elementary School and the middle school for additional “swing space” during the construction project.

Coventry officials have explained third-graders will attend Turkeyfoot Elementary School, and fifth-graders, Coventry Middle School for the 2014-15 school year.

Board member David Andrews said he eagerly awaits the students’ return to the district.

“I want to see the look on their faces,” he said. “Everyone has been doing a great job.”

Andrews encouraged district residents to log onto the district website, www.coventryschools.org, to stay up-to-date on the renovations taking place and to view photos of finished work.

Board President Bob Wohlgamuth said open houses are being scheduled and a community meeting will be planned for August so everyone can view the renovations and stay informed on the high school construction project.

Also during the meeting, board member Vicki Tavenier discussed tentative plans for the playground space at the new elementary school.

She explained equipment from Erwine and Turkeyfoot will fill the space, as well as a new large piece of playground equipment the district’s PTA presently is raising funds to purchase. She said the playground area also will include a walking track, basketball courts, benches and open green space.

Tavenier said the plans “still are a work in progress,” but the playground will be a nice size for students and in close proximity to bathrooms in the gymnasium.

Also, the board approved an alternative makeup plan for calamity days for the 2014-15 school year that states teachers should be prepared to make up days by offering education to students online should the need arise, said Superintendent Russell Chaboudy.

The board also approved a $60,000 contract with Epiphany Management for technology support and maintenance. Chaboudy said the contract amount remained the same from the 2013-14 school year.

Before the meeting’s close, Tavenier announced Erwine will be demolished as part of the construction project July 21 at 10 a.m. [See related News & Notes item on Page 3.]

An executive session also was held after regular business was conducted to discuss a personnel matter. After the executive session, the board made corrections and updates to the superintendent’s contract concerning vacation and flex days that were approved in the past but not officially listed on the current contract, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Aaron Butts said. There was no salary increase, he added.

The next board meeting will take place Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Lakeview Administrative Offices, 2910 S. Main St.

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