The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 26, 2013

What a relief! Rest rooms coming to Conneaut High School's football stadium

Higher-than-expected cost may result in some changes

CONNEAUT — Rest rooms coming to Conneaut High School’s football stadium will be the first permanent potties at the site since the field’s decades-old bleachers  were flattened four years ago.

Conneaut’s Board of Education, at a Monday night meeting, approved a $179,794 contract with Schwartz Construction to erect a multi-use building at the field. The structure — which will contain rest rooms, a concession stand and some storage space — should be in place before the Spartans’ Sept. 13 home opener against Geneva, officials have said.

The building will be the latest addition to a stadium that has undergone a complete facelift the past few years. The original bleachers, a New Deal project built in the 1930s, were demolished in 2009 when crumbling masonry created safety concerns. A set of aluminum bleachers arrived that year, followed by a 1,700-seat bleachers and press box in 2010, an upgrade that cost $446,000.

The bulk of the cost of the bleachers and press box is being borne by the CARE for Kids Committee, working to improve facilities for Conneaut’s scholastic athletes. The committee is also paying the entire cost of the multi-use building, said Kent Houston, Conneaut Area City Schools superintendent.

Bids for the project were higher than expected, board members learned. As a result, change orders will be needed to pare back some of the niceties of the building to help preserve the CARE for Kids committee budget.

“It’s taking the kitty down a little low,” said board member and CARE committee member Michael Kennedy.

Board member Sonny Heinonen worried cuts in the wrong areas, such as roof work, could hurt the integrity of the building. Houston countered CARE has to save money for other obligations.

“The more money (CARE must spend on the building), the less they have going forward to make bleacher payments,” he said. “If we don’t shave $30,000 to $40,000 off the price,  we’ll be cutting them down very, very close.”

In other business, the board:

• Agreed to hire the Brewer Garrett mechanical engineering firm to make repairs to a smokestack and roof at Conneaut High School and convert electric boilers at Conneaut Middle School to natural gas. Payment will come from money that remains in the district’s building improvement program from years ago. The work will save the district nearly $24,000 a year in utility bills, members learned. The middle school boilers weren’t part of a energy overhaul of the district a few years ago because of a wind turbine meant to provide lower-cost electricity to the school. With the turbine broken and the subject of a lawsuit, the decision was made to switch to natural gas.

• Approved a one-year contract with members of the Conneaut Classified Employees Association, which represents the district’s non-teacher employees, effective July 1. The workers agreed to forego a pay hike in return for no additional contributes to health care, Houston said.

• Approved a two-year contract with Doug Hedrick to serve as assistant principal at Conneaut Middle School. Hedrick, a teacher at CHS, will replace John Roskovics, who retired at the end of the school year. Hedrick, a Conneaut city councilman, will be paid $72,128 and will work alongside Joel Taylor, the school’s new principal.

• Learned the district’s school bus fleet, aside from a few minor snags, passed the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s annual inspection with flying colors. The board also authorized administrators to seek bids for a new school bus.

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