Tipp Superintendent to get updated cost estimate on facilities plan


By Blythe Alspaugh

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TIPP CITY — A motion approving the Tipp City Schools superintendent to use Ruetschle Architects to provide an updated cost estimate on the facilities plan was passed by the Tipp City School Board at Monday’s meeting.

The full motion authorizes Superintendent Mark Stefanik to use Ruetschle Architects to provide an updated cost estimate on the facilities plan from 2019 and 2020 and to review the most recent renovation report from Energy Optimizers. This will come at no cost to the district, and it was passed in a 3-2 vote, with board members Theresa Dunaway and Anne Zakkour voting against the motion.

According to Board President Simon Patry, there had already been preliminary steps made to get renovation estimates from Energy Optimizers, and the net result is that the board is authorized toward various steps related to that renovation, including hiring a structural engineer to evaluate whether buildings such as Broadway and Nevin Coppick were structurally sound for renovation.

The most recent renovation report provided by Energy Optimizers included a renovation of Nevin Coppick, Broadway and Tipp Central and included asbestos abatement, contemporary infrastructure upgrades and air conditioning. This report was also done at no cost to the district.

Having an updated cost estimate on the plan from Ruetschle Architects will provide the board with what Patry described as an “apples to apples” comparison, so that the board can make a better decision moving forward on potential renovations. Additionally, with having a newer board and facilities members, this helps educate the facilities committee on what the previous plan was and allows them to come back to the board with more accurate information.

Zakkour had voted against the motion due to wanting more information and data on factors such as where elementary students were coming from in and around the city; specifically, those who utilized school bus transportation.

“By having that data (…) it just sort of helps navigate a little bit more, where we’re going with all of this, and where we should be going, and getting the job done,” Zakkour said. “There’s a lot of base work discussions that have sort of drifted off for months.”

Additionally, Zakkour felt that there hadn’t been enough discussion regarding pre-k within Tipp City Schools, as well as other particulars, to pass the motion.

“We should have already had a discussion and a vision on what we’re going to do with kindergarten and pre-k for this district. It’s important for education, it’s important for childcare, it’s important for looking at facilities and where we’re going to grow,” Zakkour said.

Board member Richard Mains emphasized that his concerns were getting updates on the numbers reported from 2019 and 2020 and liked that Ruestchle was willing to review the work done by Energy Optimizers.

“Costs have gone up — I want to see details, and that’s what we’re asking Ruetschle to do. They’re willing to do it no cost, and I appreciate that. At least give me something, I need a place to start,” Mains said.

The school board also approved the retirements of classified staff members Teresa Muir and Lynn Hutchinson, effective June 1, 2022. Muir currently serves as the secretary at LT Ball Intermediate School, and Hutchinson serves as the secretary at Broadway Elementary School.

The next Tipp City School Board meeting will be held Monday, March 28 at 6 p.m.

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