The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 6, 2013

Jefferson BOE works to correct roof issues on new buildings

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — School officials are looking at problems with the roofs on Jefferson Area Local Schools’ new buildings, similar to those that have plagued other Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) projects in the area and across the state.

Consequently, building construction funds will be spent to correct defective design and construction problems of the roofs at Jefferson Senior and Junior High, Jefferson Elementary, and Rock Creek Elementary, Superintendent Douglas Hladek said.

For funds to be available for the necessary roof repair and remediation, the Board of Education approved a lease purchase agreement to secure a loan for $3.1 million  to reconcile the building construction account with the OSFC.

Board of Education members serving during 2008-2010 were assured and advised that based upon favorable economic conditions existing during the construction period there would be a sufficient local share of funds available to extend the building project to include locally funded initiatives (LFI’s).

The school board then decided to build new schools using these funds. LFI’s included the stadium, athletic building, tennis courts, concession stands, public restrooms, board office, storage building, and additional parking, Hladek said.

Following a comprehensive review and audit by the OSFC, the district learned that a significant portion of the local funding used for these additional projects was ultimately absorbed by the costs of the primary OSFC building project.

During the evaluation of whether to remediate and repair the defective roofs, the OSFC determined that the building construction account was out of balance and that the school board is required to reconcile the account. Once the account is reconciled, the OSFC will approve the roof repair project.

“The construction team failed to provide quality roofs on our schools and the board is committed to holding them responsible,” Hladek said. “The OSFC has agreed to increase the balance in the construction account to cover the cost of the remediation, with the OSFC paying 67 percent and the district 33 percent of the roof repair.”

The district will remain partnered with the OSFC, represented by the Attorney General who will litigate through court action, to seek full recovery of remediation costs from the construction team. Recovered funds will be returned to the construction account with the OSFC credited for 67 percent and the district 33 percent of the recovered funds.