A $3 million renovation to provide ninth- and 10th-graders with more classes along with a building security upgrade at the Lorain County JVS is one step closer to launching.
The vocational school’s board of education, in a special meeting Feb. 10, approved a $104,000 architectural contract with MKC Architects of Powell, Ohio.
Deputy superintendent Jerry Pavlik stressed that board members have only agreed so far to hire the architectural firm and have not voted to fund the project. That will have to be approved at a separate meeting.
The proposal aims to add classrooms in the now-vacant second floor of the JVS E wing, which totals 15,000 square feet.
Glenn Faircloth has been pushing to expand the school’s offerings for younger grades.
Pavlik’s said there are roughly 151 ninth and 10th grade students this school year, up from just under 80 in 2014. The JVS needs more classroom space for these students: “We have to look long term,” he said.
The plan is to move all the ninth and 10th grade classrooms to the first floor of the wing so the students are together in one area. Three of those rooms are expected to be slightly modified.
The security project will include upgrading cameras, fire alarms, locking mechanisms on all doors that exit the building, and the school’s intercom system.
“There’s a large potential savings by doing both projects at the same time,” board member Charles Froehlich said. “I think it’s key for everybody to know it doesn’t put us in a place to go in and undo or redo the security project if we do both projects at the same time.”
Ideally, construction will begin as soon as students leave the building this spring, Froehlich said.
Board vice president Rex Engle said programs inside the building will not be moving during the school year. “We will move programs after it’s complete,” he said.
Four programs that do not require water will be moved upstairs to the renovated classrooms.
“It will have no impact on the students,” said board member Dwayne Becker. “We need to get this out as soon as possible so we can make sure we get it done before school starts.”
Ayers Ratliff was the only board member who did not support the contract. “I cannot support further expenditure of money until we fix the carpentry lab,” he said, referencing concerns over air quality there.
“We still have an instructor and students in the room,” he said. “I’m not against doing these things but I’m not going to support any additional expenditures until such time as we fix the collections system in the carpentry lab.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.