Staggs said the Commission came with a list of 45 items they wanted to cut from the building, and they did cut 44 of them. He said he didn’t want to cut any of them, but admitted they were all minor changes that would not lessen the building’s safety or impact the quality of education the building could provide.
“They redesigned the skylights. They eliminated glass in an outside stairway. There will be some windows in the stairway but most of it will be metal. They changed our roofing material from EPDM to TPO, that means about $2.50 per square yard, which is good because I don’t care what’s on the roof as long as it keeps us dry,” Staggs said.
One of the largest cuts made was the school’s proposed plans for geothermal, which the Commission has instead placed on an alternate list. That project was valued at $715,000.
“They want to change the windows in the building. They want to change the slope of the building. They want to change the canopy in the terrace on the front of the building,” Staggs said.
Staggs was particularly bothered to see the Commission cut 200 seats from the school gymnasium. The previous design had 800 seats, and now it’s down to 600. This cut is valued at $28,000, and is still double the current high school gym, which seats only about 300 people. Staggs said the size of the gym is not getting any smaller, only the number of seats available.
“They have reduced it from a 600-seat section to a 400-seat section, because there is another section on the other side of the gym with about 200 seats,” he said.
The only item that the school was able to save from the Commission’s cutting board was insulated concrete forms (ICF) for the walls. Staggs said he fought very hard to save this feature.
“ICF are Styrofoam forms that interconnect like Legos. You stack all of these together and get them all setup, then you pour them full of concrete. That creates the walls for the building. It is significantly stronger than masonry. By using ICF, we’re going to reduce the time it takes to build the building, because it’s faster, and what it takes to heat and cool that building for the rest of its life will be significantly reduced,” Staggs explained.
There would be eight inches of concrete between each Styrofoam form wall, as opposed to a hollow block.
Staggs said he believes these new changes could be complete on the building plans within six weeks. After that, the plans will still need to go before an OSFC review committee for approval, and then final approval by the Village of New Boston. To help expedite the process, Staggs said the OSFC now may be willing to give the school an early site package to allow them to begin preparation of the land on Lakeview Avenue, in New Boston.
Meanwhile, the OSFC remains under investigation by the Ohio Inspector General’s Office following complaints filed by several Ohio school officials — including Staggs, who accused the Commission of persuading the school to use only union labor for new buildings. New Boston School did not sign a union labor agreement.