Smaller, less expensive city school is proposed
by By DAVID DAVIS Managing Editor
Aug 28, 2013 | 1057 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL members have received a new proposal from Dr. Martin Ringstaff and the Cleveland Board of Education for a new elementary school that is smaller and less expensive. This is the Georgetown Road location. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS
CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL members have received a new proposal from Dr. Martin Ringstaff and the Cleveland Board of Education for a new elementary school that is smaller and less expensive. This is the Georgetown Road location. Banner photo, DAVID DAVIS

Cleveland City Schools Director Martin Ringstaff pitched a scaled-down version of the proposed elementary school to the Cleveland City Council Monday.

Council members asked Ringstaff at the Aug. 14 meeting if the cost of the school, designed for 700 students, could be reduced. The original design was priced at $18.1 million or $140 per square foot.

The revised plan would accommodate 560 students at a cost of $16.4 million. The new design reduced the total gross area from 116,228 square feet to 104,594, by eliminating one wing of the school containing a science lab and eight classrooms.

Ringstaff said two cost-cutting options were considered. One was to build a shell for 700 students but only populate it with 560 students.

“Cost-wise and fire marshal-wise that didn’t go over too well,” he said. “The fire marshal said if you build it and leave it empty, there are codes and things we’d have to jump through. There is not a lot of cost savings doing it that way. Leaving the entire wing off was a much more cost-saving move.”

The core areas such as the cafeteria would be built to accommodate 700 students.

“If growth continues, 10 years from now we would be able to add classrooms for at least 140 more students onto the building, instead of building another elementary school. That would be the purpose behind that,” he said.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland expressed appreciation for Ringstaff’s effort to save money.

“We’re trying,” Ringstaff said.

The school site is on 20 acres on the east bank of Candies Creek on Georgetown Road. Grade work is finished and pad ready.

In response to a question concerning the third phase of renovations at Arnold Elementary School from 4th District Councilman David May, the school director said he and the school board are committed to building a new cafeteria for the school, which was built in 1929. However, two major air-conditioning units are in the way and cannot be moved, Ringstaff said.

“What we don’t want to do is confuse it with the growth issue we’re dealing with. We didn’t roll it into this plan. We wanted it to be a separate plan for cost reasons,” Ringstaff said. “We will have to completely revise the third phase of expansion at Arnold School anyway, according to architects.”

Ringstaff said there is enough acreage at Arnold so any changes in design would be fairly simple.

“I don’t believe it would be an issue. We just haven’t discussed in depth what the next step would be,” he said.

During renovations in 2006, the original plan called for mounting two 1,500-pound air-conditioning units on the roof of the gymnasium. In December 2006, a structural engineer advised the school board against it, according to past newspaper reports. Though the support trusses appeared substantial, the original design probably did not account for the added weight. Arnold School was built. In addition, the original blueprints were unavailable when the building was renovated. Finally, the inaccessibility of the roof could have been an issue when performing monthly maintenance.

There was concern the air-conditioning units might interfere with constructing a new cafeteria, but school board members on the site committee felt air conditioning was of more immediate importance than a future cafeteria.

During the regular voting session, Cleveland City Council members approved the following consent agenda items:

- Final passage of Ordinance 2013-39 amending the Zoning Ordinance to allow for the use of mini-warehouses in the Neighborhood Commercial Zoning district;

- Final passage of Ordinance 2013-40 to annex and zone about .3 acres located on Silver Springs Trail at the request of the property owner;

- A bid of $125,269 from Lee Smith of Chattanooga for a knuckleboom for the Public Works Department;

- Reappointment of Lou Patten to the Cleveland Airport Authority for an additional five-year term to expire September 2018;

- Resolution 2013-78 for a management intern provided through the Municipal Technical Advisory Service Management Intern Program. The city’s cost is $1,800. The intern will be assigned to the city from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

- Resolution 2013-79 authorizing Mayor Tom Rowland to sign an agreement with the city of Ducktown for the purpose of housing animals;

- A motion authorizing the mayor to submit a letter to TDOT in reference to passages under bridges for the greenway along U.S. Highway 60;

- A motion declaring certain items as surplus and to be sold on;

- Resolution 2013-77 approving the use of an updated animal adoption contract was removed from the agenda.

Under new business, the Council approved Resolution 2013-76 authorizing the mayor to execute all documents necessary relative to making application to the Economic Development Administration for a $1.5 million grant to upgrade the Cleveland Utilities water main to South Cleveland and the Spring Branch Industrial Park.

As a reminder, city offices will be closed Monday in observance of Labor Day.