New roof OK’d for Lowell school

BEVERLY – Lowell Elementary students will be welcomed to school next year with a new roof over their heads now that the Fort Frye Board of Education has approved its construction.

At a special meeting held Wednesday afternoon, the board unanimously voted to approve a bid to replace the nearly 25-year-old roof at the cost of $406,300.

Construction and design through BDT Architects of Athens and Hash’s Construction of Bidwell will begin next week.

“The roof is over 20 years old and we’ve experienced multiple leaks,” said Superintendent Stephanie Starcher. “It’s been inspected numerous times and we determined we needed to completely replace it.”

The traditional pitch roof has several weak spots and has accrued damage from the weather since it was put in place in 1990.

“Right now there are tarps in several areas covering up leaks, so it really needed to come down,” said board member Lloyd Booth, who serves on the Buildings and Grounds committee.

The new roof will be made of a Sika Sarnafil product, which is specifically designed for waterproofing.

“It’s a heat-bonded material that will help prevent that weather damage,” Booth said.

Contractors estimate that the roof will take the entire summer to complete to be ready for incoming students in August.

District treasurer Stacy Bolden said that though she could not confirm other bid amounts Wednesday, two other companies not local to the area were also a part of the bidding process, but Hash’s won out for the lowest bid and was selected by the board.

The $406,300 needed for the roof will come out of the district’s permanent improvement fund, which was previously funded through the tax abatements paid to the district for the presence of Duke Energy.

Because Duke has recently begun paying property taxes in the area, the district has had to strategically save money for needed improvement projects as it will soon have to rely more heavily on the general fund.

“We try to be fiscally responsible in the district so we have money for these major projects when needed,” Starcher said. “Because of this we’ve tried to use our permanent improvement fund cautiously so we can maintain our buildings.”

In addition to approval of the roof construction, the board also approved the district to enter into a partnership with the Metropolitan Educational Council and Unified Purchasing Cooperative of the Ohio River Valley to receive bids for at least one new 72-passenger bus.

“The plan is for just at least one, but we ultimately plan on buying two,” Bolden said.

Bidding originally opened on May 22, but the board effectively cancelled bids from Marietta Truck Sales and H. Davis Edwin & Sons Inc. out of Clarksburg at its meeting.

Bolden confirmed that bus bids typically will be set at about $80,000 per bus, but after the district learned that the purchasing could be done through its membership with the MEC Cooperative, it decided to cancel all previous bids.

Allowing the MEC Cooperative to accept bids on the behalf of the district should be less expensive than accepting bids independently, Bolden said.

Starcher confirmed that the two old buses that the district plans to replace, which have reached mileage and wear and tear limits, will be sold by the district.