Leader Blues

Monday, April 09, 2007

TOP STORY >>Cabot will build new junior high on burned site

IN SHORT: A $5.2 million state payment will be added to $10 million in insurance money to rebuild burned school in Cabot district.

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Cabot’s new chief of schools won’t have to worry about whether the district will be able to rebuild Cabot Junior High North as Superintendent Dr. Frank Holman has tied up that loose end.

Holman announced Wed-nesday during a meeting of the school board’s building and grounds committee that the state’s Facilities Division had agreed to approve the district’s catastrophic funding request in the amount of $5.2 million.
“They agreed to everything we asked them to do,” Holman told the board amidst a round of applause.

The total projected cost to rebuild CJHN, lost to a fire in August, is $18.5 million. The estimated cost for the district will be about $3 million after applying the $10 million they got in January from Great American Insurance Company of Ohio, the district’s insurance company.

With the catastrophic program, the district’s share of construction costs is calculated using the wealth index – a 60/40 cost share between the state and the district.

To break it down, deduct the $10 million insurance settlement from the projected total of $18.5 million.
The state will then pay 60 percent of the $8.5 million balance, making the state’s share $5.2 million and the Cabot School District’s about $3 million.

“This morning was the first time I didn’t wake up thinking about this in eight months,” Holman said Wednesday.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the new CJHN will be built back on the hill with facilities capable of holding 1,200 students.

“We’re replacing the spaces we lost to larger sizes,” Jim Dalton, assistant superintendent, said.
The new campus will be over 120,000 square feet, adding an additional 19,000 square feet, Dalton said, giving the district flexibility if grade configurations are ever changed.

It will meet all new building codes and standards. It will have a sprinkler system. It will have 850- square-foot classrooms, meet the indoor air quality standards, and have a larger area for the cafeteria.

“We have our architect working on the design and anticipate opening bids in July,” Holman said.
Construction is estimated to take between 18 and 24 months.

The state also approved the district rebuilding CJHN in a different design utilizing current parking and buildings.
The vocational building, multi-purpose building and physical education building were left intact after the Aug. 10 fire that destroyed the rest of the campus.

The state will also reimburse the district 60 percent of the cost of demolition; the district will get that money back when the demolition bill of $171,838 is sent to the Facilities Division.

Great American Insurance Co. and the district completed negotiations in February for a final settlement amount of $12,069,000 for the eight-year-old, $9 million Junior High North that burned to the ground following the Aug. 10 fire that was ignited by a faulty light fixture.

The displaced students have attended classes all year in trailers set up between the tennis courts and the CJHN gym. It is costing the district $40,000 per month to rent the more than 30 trailers used to house the students.

Items also discussed during the buildings and ground committee meeting include:
n the possibility of needing a ninth elementary school within three years once the Hwy. 5 development is complete.

n leasing space in the old Community Bank building from the city to hold the CHS Museum and either the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) or the Alternative Learning Environment (ALE) or possibly both, and

n possibilities on how to eliminate as many portable buildings as possible from CJHN – public meetings will be held before school is out to brainstorm ideas.