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Karns City closes Sugarcreek Elementary School

KARNS CITY — The Karns City Area School Board closed Sugarcreek Elementary School and received an update on the $24 million expansion project at Chicora Elementary School, where Sugarcreek students will be attending classes in the fall.

Monday’s vote to close Sugarcreek at the end of the school year was the second the board cast to close the school. The closing date in the previous vote had to be rescheduled because the work at Chicora Elementary is taking longer than anticipated.

Superintendent Eric Ritzert told the board there are no immediate plans for Sugarcreek after it is closed, but having a commercial appraisal would typically be the next step.

Except for the kitchen and cafeteria, the addition to Chicora Elementary is underway and work on the heating and cooling system can begin sooner than expected because the existing boilers were shut down sooner than anticipated, said John Pappas, of Eckles Construction Services, the project management firm.

However, asbestos was found in the roof overhang on part of Chicora Elementary, he said.

That material will be removed and disposed of in accordance with federal regulations after the school year ends, Ritzert said.

Buying playground equipment is not part of the project, but it should be ordered soon so it can be installed over the summer, Pappas said. He said furniture also should be ordered soon.

Construction of two courtyards will cost $150,000, Pappas said.

Ritzert said he estimated the playground would $300,000, including a soft, rubberized play area, a concrete area for basketball and volleyball and the playground equipment.

The original project budget included $800,000 for furniture, but only $150,000 will be needed, he said. All teacher desks will be replaced, but the student desks are in good condition and will be kept, he said. New furniture will be bought for the offices, conference room, nurse’s office, art room, STEM room and the library, he said.

To pay for the project, the $9.3 million remaining in the proceeds from the construction bond is $1.9 million less than the needed amount, said Evan McGarvey, business director.

The plan is to pay the $1.9 million from the district’s $4.4 million capital reserve fund.

The board approved six change orders totaling $91,211.

The project’s original cost was $24.5 million, and, as of April 30, the district has paid contractors nearly $14.3 million, according to a project update from Eckles.

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