Additional classrooms and a more spacious music program have added about $5 million in costs to the Firestone-Litchfield and Harris construction projects.
The two projects, part of a roughly 15-year, district-wide construction plan that began a decade ago, are funded by the state based on square footage. Each building, in turn, is sized based on projected enrollment.
Along with rising construction costs, another 10,000 square feet at the combined Firestone-Litchfield project and about 3,000 square feet more at Harris are estimated to add $5 million to both projects.
The space will allow crowded classrooms, which would have been shared by teachers, to be split while providing more room for special-education students.
“We felt it would be better overall if we separated [the classrooms] out,” said Paul Flesher, director of facilities for Akron Public Schools. “Some of those you get into details, unfortunately, after the fact. You don’t get into details until you get into the project.”
More rooms for band and choir programs at Firestone have been added to the plans.
Along with nine demolition projects, the two buildings are now expected to cost more than $102 million. A 10th demolition project at the old Firestone High School, however, has not been bid yet and could again add to the total cost.
Per an agreement with the state, the $5 million in add-ons and inflated construction costs, not part of the original plans, must be borne by local tax dollars.
Both buildings are expected to be ready for students in fall 2016. Work on the Firestone natatorium, though, will be delayed until after the swimming season ends in February. The pool is expected to be renovated by October 2016 — before the following season commences.
Expanding both projects’ square footage means GPD Group, the Akron-based architecture firm that has engineered all of the district’s rebuilds, will receive another $115,685. The firm’s engineering and planning contract, now at $5.2 million, rises proportionately with construction costs.
On Monday, the Akron school board gave GPD another contract for $4.1 million to design the Case Elementary and Ellet High School projects.
The Case project is budgeted around $14 million and could be completed by July 2017. Ellet is expected to cost $65 million and is projected to be ready for the 2018-19 school year.
The final schools included in the districtwide rebuild have yet to be announced, though time and state funding are winding down.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330 996-3792 or email@example.com.