LIBERTY CENTER — The services of Rupp/Rosebrock of Liberty Center to serve as construction manager at-risk for athletic renovation projects at Liberty Center Local Schools, were approved by the Liberty Center Local Board of Education during a special meeting of the board Friday morning.

In addition, superintendent Richie Peters released information about when staff at Liberty Center Local Schools will have the opportunity to get their first COVID-19 vaccination (see related story page A7).

The board first approved a resolution ranking construction manager at-risk statements and qualifications, and authorized the solicitation of technical and pricing proposals from Rupp/Rosebrock related to the 1995 gymnasium and the athletic metal building renovation projects first discussed at the December 2020 meeting of the board. Rupp/Rosebrock was the only firm to submit paperwork to be construction manager at-risk for the projects.

The board also approved the request for proposal submitted by Rupp/Rosebrock concerning the projects (the construction of a new soccer field at the spring sports complex may be included in this proposal, however, the district may take on that project itself).

Drew Toadvine, project manager at Rupp/Rosebrock, was present at the meeting to give a presentation/interview as to why his company should be hired as construction manager at-risk.

“Because Rupp/Rosebrock was the only firm to submit paperwork to become our construction manager at-risk, it really sped up the process,” said Peters. “Drew presented the overall scope of the project, the board asked him pertinent questions, and that led to approving the district to enter into the contract piece of the resolution.

“The next step is for me to work on a contract with Rupp/Rosebrock, as far as pricing and things like that, with a goal of having that finished by the Feb. 22 meeting of the board,” continued Peters. “At that point, the board will look over the contract, and if approved, Rupp/Rosebrock can begin work on the projects after Feb. 22. Rupp/Rosebrock will then go to work finding subcontractors that can meet our budget and time frame to get those projects completed.”

Work on the projects is expected to be completed in time for the beginning of fall athletics.

Approved by the board was the fiscal officer’s certificate of CFO/treasurer Jenell Buenger, certifying the maximum maturity of notes to be issued for the projects, in anticipation of the collection of the fraction of the proceeds of the tax levy approved (permanent improvement levy), for the purpose of general improvements (1.25 mills), is Dec. 31, 2030.

The board also approved a resolution for the issuance and sale of tax anticipation notes, with the principal amount not to exceed $1,083,000, for the purpose of paying for the general permanent improvements. At the January meeting of the board, Peters explained the note will be paid for through remaining funds from the K-12 building project, as well as collections from the district’s permanent improvement levy.

On Friday, the board also approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Liberty Center Classroom Teachers’ Association (LCCTA), a MOU with Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE) Local 414 employees, and a MOU with non-union employees. All three MOUs concern the extension of sick leave benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MOU with the LCCTA covers protocols if the district needs to go to a remote or hybrid learning model, technology, and permitting association members to use up to two weeks/10 days of sick leave if a member is subject to quarantine, experiencing symptoms, or caring for an individual or child with COVID-19.

If a member is ordered to quarantine because of exposure in a work-related activity, only 50% of leave will be charged against sick leave accumulation.

Meanwhile, the MOUs with OAPSE Local 414 employees, and non-union employees, were approved for the same sick leave terms as those approved for the LCCTA. All three MOUs will expire June 30, 2021.

“With the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expiring Dec. 31, 2020, we’ve taken components of that and extended benefits to all employees with the pandemic still in full effect,” said Peters. “The federal government has discussed extending it, but hasn’t yet, which led to us making this decision.”

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