Warren board picks company to oversee construction

VINCENT — Warren Local Schools has chosen the Michigan-based firm Barton Malow to be the construction manager-at-risk for its $61 million building project.

The construction will relocate the district’s high school and elementary school into new buildings on the site currently occupied by its middle school, consolidating all its buildings on a single campus. It is being financed by a bond passed by Warren voters in May along with money from the state.

The district chose Barton Malow from among three finalists for the critical job of overseeing project construction: Barton Malow of Southfield, Mich., Robertson Construction Services of Heath, and Elford, Inc., of Columbus.

The decision was announced Monday, and superintendent Kyle Newton spoke about it at the district’s regular board of education meeting Monday night.

“I’m very excited. This is the fourth-largest construction firm in the nation,” he said. “I’ve had multiple reach-outs from them today, and it was only announced at noon.”

The company, which is employee-owned, has institutional and industrial projects in the works across the country, from a hospitals in Maryland and Arizona and a convention center in Erie, Pa., to an athletic facility at the University of Michigan and a massive waterslide in Tampa, Fla.

Newton said he, district treasurer Melcie Wells, board members, a representative of architecture and design firm Fanning Howey and representatives of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission toured two out-of-town schools looking for ideas about how the elementary school might be designed.

“We were looking to get a feel for the elementary level, what we liked and didn’t like,” Newton said.

“Now that we have a full team in place, the pace of progress will move faster,” board president Bob Allen said. “We can have more impact on the schedule.”

Board member Willie Holbert welcomed the decision and said moving ahead will help the those in the community who have had reservations about the project realize what’s coming.

“”People don’t have any concept of what an advantage this will be to our students,’ he said. “This district will be second to none, it will turn real estate into a seller’s market, we will have businesses moving in.”

Newton said an organizational meeting is planned for Nov. 30, an all-day event led by an outside consultant that will include the public, the board and administration and the project team.

The district’s website now has a vertical titled Building Project to allow the public to follow progress on the project, and Newton noted that the information now has responsive display for smartphones. Board member Debbie West said a Facebook page specifically for the building project is in the works.

In other business, the board:

≤ Was informed by Newton that Warren Elementary was one of only 12 schools in the state designated as a high progress or high performing school.

“This is a really big deal,” Newton said.

The program recognizes schools that have “sustained high achievement and substantial progress while serving a significant number of economically disadvantaged students,” according to the Ohio Department of Education, which confers the awards.

≤ Was told the Warren Warriors high school marching band finished in eighth place out of 22 competitors at the Bands of the Americas Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, the best finish ever for the group.

At a glance

Warren Local Schools building project:

≤ Barton Malow hired as construction manager-at-risk for $61 million project.

≤ Public meeting planned for next week.

≤ Website now includes building project information.