Improvements to schools would cost #036;20.6 million

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 21, 2006

New facility construction and renovations to existing buildings in the Butler County School System would cost at least $20.6 million according to a preliminary report delivered to the Board of Education.

The report - which allows for an athletic complex at Greenville High School to include a new football stadium, the construction of new main building for R.L. Austin Elementary School in Georgiana, and millions of dollars in reconstruction at each school in Butler County - was prepared as part of the Board's strategic plan to ensure all facilities meet the needs of students, staff and the community.

&#8220We're not setting a time line for this,” said Superintendent Mike Looney about the report. &#8220What the Board is going to do with this report is take a look at these costs and see what we can do and what we can't do. This is a start. We can't promise anything. But we wanted to take a good look at exactly how much it would cost to bring our buildings up to standards as far as modern facilities go.”

An architectural firm prepared the report in conjunction with Wayne Boswell, administrative assistant for operations. Boswell presented the findings during Thursday night's regular Board meeting held at McKenzie High School.

Renovations at W.O. Parmer Elementary and Greenville Elementary School would run approximately $2.7 million, while costs to overhaul existing buildings at Greenville Middle School would be $1.46 million, according to the survey.

It would cost $4.7 million to build an athletic complex behind Greenville High School. The complex would include a football stadium as well as a practice field, field house, concession stand/restrooms, press box, ticket booths, along with a baseball and softball field.

&#8220The football stadium would meet the minimum 4,000-seats which is required by the state in order to host a Class 5A playoff game,” said Boswell.

At R.L. Austin Elementary School contractors would start by demolishing the main facility and building a new one at a cost of $3.2 million. Soil and drainage issues would be addressed at Georgiana High School and the 76-year-old central building, along with the five other surrounding facilities, would receive nearly $4 million in renovations.

Renovations at McKenzie High School would cost $4.3 million, which includes a rebuilt retaining wall on the south side of the football stadium.

The expenses are associated with everything from new plumbing to parking lot pavement to electrical re-wiring, said Boswell.

Additionally, certain facilities were originally constructed with a single purpose in mind, said Boswell.

For example, Greenville Elementary was once Greenville High School and there have been no modifications to the facility since.

Add to that the fact that Butler County's schools - with the exception of Greenville High School - are just old, said Boswell.

&#8220The average lifespan of a building is between 60 and 75 years,” he said.

The school system's oldest building is W.O. Parmer which is 77-years-old.

Boswell also presented an alternative survey, recommended by the architect, which calls for an additional $8 million in funding for construction of a new elementary/high school in Georgiana.

The new facility would cost $14.6 million and consolidate students and faculty at both schools. R.L. Austin and Georgiana High School would be abandoned.