Berkshire Board of Education last week approved bids for construction of the new all-grade school building setting the maximum price at $42.54 million.

Berskhire Superintendent John Stoddard said during the April 24 meeting that construction of the school, to be located next to the Kent State Geauga campus on Claridon-Troy Road, will move forward once the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission reviews and approves the list of vendors.

Mr. Stoddard said the names of the contractors on that list will not be public until the state approves it. “We do have a lot of local vendors that are going to be working on this project.”

Mr. Stoddard said the district worked with the construction management company, ICON, LLC, to come up with the guaranteed maximum price, which is comprised of 21 different bid components, ranging from the plumbing costs to lockers for the school.

The district is building the new pre-kindergarten through 12th grade campus with local taxpayers footing about $27.83 million of the total thanks to a levy passed in 2018. The school is anticipated to open in August of 2021. Plans call for the 183,538 square foot structure to be a three-level building surrounded by athletic fields. Some sitework has begun with sanitary sewer lines installed and work on waterlines.

Additionally, the school board agreed to purchase a builder’s risk insurance policy with Chubb Insurance to cover up to $47 million in damages on the project. Mr. Stoddard said the district’s $32,871 payment on the policy insures against any costs incurred by a delay in construction or damage to the equipment in addition to the health of the construction workers.

District Treasurer Beth McCaffrey said the Berkshire Educational Foundation’s marketing team is looking at different ways to get additional funding for the new building.

In other news, the board also discussed ideas for holding a virtual awards ceremony to give scholarships out to seniors, including four $250 grants that the board presents to the top seniors in each graduating class.

Mr. Stoddard said the board had considered holding this year’s graduation at the Mayfield Road Drive-In Theater in Chardon, but scrapped that idea when the Oho Department of Education recommended schools abstain from all large gatherings.

He also mentioned that staff members participated in a districtwide, 137-person meeting via Zoom prior to the board meeting, and it ran very well.

“We gave kudos to the staff for all they’re doing during this crazy time and gave them an update on where we are with the building and allowed them to give shoutouts and kudos to each other,” Mr. Stoddard said. “Everybody was happy to see each other’s faces.”

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