Garrettsville – If you have been in our buildings you know that our custodial and maintenance staff do an outstanding job of keeping them looking spectacular, but there is only so much our staff can do to maintain an aging building before some changes need to be made. As you drive by our campus over the coming weeks you will see some noticeable changes occurring.

Each year the district sets aside funds to handle projects such as sidewalks, HVAC upgrades or parking lot maintenance, just to name a few. Over the last few years it has become clear that the District had three projects with a cost that exceeded the funds set aside on a yearly basis. Further there would be a cost savings to taxpayers in the long run if we were able to complete some of these projects. The three projects identified are new high school windows, LED lighting and new stadium seating. In October the Board of Education approved a lease/purchase agreement that allowed the district to pool funds up front to complete these larger projects and begin to realize the savings early.

High School Windows
The windows on our high school are original to the construction of the building and have grown tired, inefficient and become costly to maintain. The 50 windows facing State Route 88 will be replaced with insulated, double-paned aluminum framed windows. We have started on the front of the high school because this is where we can realize the most energy savings and comfort for our students. Savings will come from the added insulation (over 12 times more insulation value). We were also able to realize some savings (nearly 10%) by having the windows installed during the winter months when work was slow for installers. Capitol Aluminum, a company from Bellevue, Ohio, won the bid for the windows and will have the project completed before mid-February.

LED Lighting
In December we contracted with CCG Energy Solutions from Richfield, Ohio to complete an LED retrofit of all our exterior lighting as well as all interior lighting at the middle school and high school. These buildings were selected because a study showed that they are used more often after-hours and would generate more savings. We hope to reinvest these savings in future projects at the elementary school.

We are also aware our parking lot has been dark over the past month because of burned out lights and are making this the first priority for CCG as they begin their project on February 13th. Many of the LED lights being installed will come with motion sensors that will automatically turn large areas like the commons and gymnasiums off when unoccupied, reducing electricity costs significantly. The LED project will pay for itself in just under 4 years through energy savings. The District also realized about $14,000 in savings by applying for a rebates through First Energy that were released on January 1, 2017.

Stadium Seating
During the 2013 school year the James A. Garfield Athletic Boosters created a Stadium & Facilities Committee to help raise funds to pay for improvements to our athletic facilities. With great foresight they realized that creating a plan with phases would allow them to raise funds and show the community some progress almost immediately. The first phase was centered around player safety and would cost approximately $25,000. These funds were secured through donations and fundraising efforts and allowed the District to shift the field 20 feet away from our current bleachers, install new fencing, add new goal posts and extend the life of our visitor bleachers by pouring a concrete pad beneath them.

Phase two of this project was much more aggressive and significantly more expensive, but thanks to the efforts of the Stadium and Facility Committee over $100,000 has been raised for this project! This phase will be completed by the end of this July and includes new ADA compliant home bleachers and a new press box. The project is currently out to bid and we will select a contractor by the end of January.

The James A. Garfield Local School District and community have always taken great pride in our facilities and our fiscal management. Our campus consistently receives accolades from visitors and residents for its cleanliness. We are pleased to announce these three projects because they are being done in the same spirit of pride. We not only look forward to seeing the savings but seeing how these upgrades will brighten the educational experience of young G-Men for generations to come…..which should make us all very proud!

If you have any questions about these projects or would like to see them up close, please feel free to contact me by phone (office: 330.527.4336 cell: 216.534.7413) or email (tlysiak@jagschools.org).