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Board approves design work for troublesome trail

CCA school board approves contract, hears project updates

OXFORD– It’s been a long, twisting path, but the end may finally be just ahead.
The Clear Creek Amana (CCA) school board approved a $52,000 contract with Shive-Hattery for the design of a sidewalk-trail along the north side of the district’s property in Tiffin. The move came during the board’s regular monthly meeting Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Oxford.
The vote puts the project, mandated by the city of Tiffin’s code of ordinances and a recurring source of friction between the two entities, one step closer to fruition.
The district and city entered into an agreement in late July, which stated the district would install an eight-foot wide sidewalk from the west end of the district’s property, along the south side of U.S. Highway 6, to Ireland Avenue. The district, per city ordinance, is obligated for five feet of the width, and per the agreement, the city will reimburse the balance for the remaining three feet. The city leveraged the district into signing the agreement by threatening to withhold permits necessary for construction of the new elementary school on the east side of Tiffin, and also offered to reimburse the district for 50 percent of the building permit fees while also waiving the utility (water and sewer) hook up fees for the new school.
The contract authorizes Shive-Hattery to begin the necessary design work for the sidewalk. At the present time a rough sketch exists showing the likely path, which Keith Johnk of Shive-Hattery said was enough for the city to release the permits. The agreement stipulates that the sidewalk is to be completed by December 2015.
“So, someone’s going to dig through all the little fine print and the ordinances and make sure we got no surprises this time?” board vice-president Bob Broghammer asked. “That’s my expectation,” he added, “because we seem to run into that.”
The board approved the contract on a unanimous voice vote.
The board also approved another change order for the new elementary, which was tabled at the September meeting pending further information and clarification regarding mandates of the State Fire Marshall’s office. The change covers additional emergency lighting and Ground Fault Indicator (GFI) electrical outlets.
“It’s something that was omitted (from Shive-Hattery’s design for the building) that should’ve been in the documents. The pricing was okay, it was fair, and you would’ve paid for it anyway,” board member Jim Seelman said, explaining Superintendent Tim Kuehl’s recommendation to approve. The $4,502 change order passed on a unanimous voice vote.
Also approved was the fourth pay application for the new elementary, covering work done between the last pay application and the meeting date, as well as the second pay application for the addition to the middle school.
Board member Eileen Schmidt asked construction manager Ray Willoughby and Johnk if work was behind on the middle school project. “It’s been wet,” Johnk said, acknowledging it’s a bit behind schedule. Willoughby said contractors were getting caught up, with crews working on Saturdays and as late into the day as possible. He noted the Saturdays were mandatory due to the tight timeline, as the building must be open for students in August.
With all of the Geo-piers and foundation installed, Willoughby anticipated walls would be going up shortly. “We’re moving along,” he added, despite a snag that was encountered, leading to the first change order for the middle school.
“One of the reasons that they’re a little behind (at the middle school) is because every scoop of dirt that they took, they either found something that wasn’t expected to be there, or didn’t find something that was expected to be there,” Johnk said.
At issue was a change order for replacing existing storm sewers along the south side of the building. “It wasn’t where it was anticipated,” Johnk said. A line was also found on the north side while installing a new sewer line, but there was still uncertainty as to where it made connection.
“We finally brought a video camera out and snaked everything as to where it went.” Ultimately old lines were replaced with larger, more efficient piping. “It was a big effort,” Johnk said, “but done in short order once we knew where things were going, and what had to be done.” Some of what was replaced was crumbling; other parts had been damaged during construction of the 1996 addition and repaired. Still other portions were relocated without any notice made. “Some of it was discovered in ’96, but they just patched it and didn’t tell anyone,” Johnk said.
The change orders total approximately $36,000, which was deducted from the $600,000 contingency fund budgeted into the $14.8 million project cost.
Willoughby also reported on progress at the elementary site, stating the north part is up and the gym is expected to have its walls and trusses up by late October. Work continues on footings, while the geothermal system is installed.
“Everything’s moving along pretty good,” Willoughby said.