Issues voiced over plans

BOTKINS — Approximately 60 people turned for a special Botkins Local School Board of Education meeting Monday to discuss plans for the new school building.

Board members came to the meeting with a petition circulated and signed by 81 residents expressing concerns they had with the school.

Botkins Local School District residents approved a 7.99-mill property tax levy on Nov. 8 to build a new school and provide money to maintain those facilities for a maximum of 35 years.

The bond levy raised the approximate $6.9 million local share of the $24.4 million total project.

Teaming up with several representatives from Fanning/Howey and Associates, who is designing the project, board members discussed options of addressing those concerns and the effects it would have on their pocketbooks.

The petition asked for board members to reconsider the choice to go with a pitched roof with a one-half inch decline for every horizontal foot, the building being landlocked and to consider brick bids as an alternate on the south side of the building for aesthetic reasons.

Concerning the pitched roof, many residents said they felt it was implied that the new roof would be a pitched metal roof rather than a flat roof. Board President Jack Koenig discussed the fact of the new roof being pitched, unlike the current roof.

“The roof we have planned is not a flat roof,” Koenig said. “It has a low slope and will allow for runoff. No water will collect on the roof.”

Several of the engineers from Fanning/Howey backed up Koenig’s claims, but other residents were still concerned with the aesthetic appearance of it being flat.

Randall Sprunger from Fanning/Howey presented the residents with alternative pitches of 2 inches for every horizontal foot or 3 inches for every foot on a Powerpoint presentation. However, those moves would come with added costs in excess of $100,000 and $400,000, money that would have to come out of other projects if they chose to add to the pitch of the roof.

“We are trying to get the most bang for the buck,” Koenig said. “It is a question of what you want to sacrifice to get the roof.”

One resident said that the preliminary engineer’s drawing resembled a hospital or prison. She commented it was not what she pictured when she had went to the election to approve the new school.

“When I saw this I thought, ‘Oh, this is what its going to be?’ ” the woman said.

She also commented on the drab brown color in the drawing.

Koenig answered by saying that the colors for the building had not been selected and it was way too early in the process to determine the color of the building.

“We have many different colors of brick to choose from and we haven’t even reached that point yet,” Koenig said.

He also commented the photo did not show texture of the brick, giving it a more drab appearance. He did tell the crowd it is recommended to stay with lighter, earthy colors because darker colors will fade.

Koenig said the public must understand that aesthetic changes come with a costs and the money has to come from somewhere.

“We are on a limited budget,” Koenig said. “We put on the ballot the amount of what we thought people could afford and what they would approve. We have to be responsible with the taxpayer’s dollar.”

Associates from Fanning/Howey explained the school essentially was only landlocked in certain places and there was plenty of room to add on in the future if needed. Sprunger showed how eight to 12 classrooms could be added to the side of the building to accommodate as many as 300 more students.