Chagrin Falls school board approves HVAC upgrades at high school

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — The Chagrin Falls Board of Education has authorized the school district administration to upgrade the HVAC equipment at Chagrin Falls High School.

On Wednesday (October 6) the board approved a contract with Wright Engineering of Fairlawn for professional services in the amount of no more than $59,500. It also authorized the administration to pre-purchase HVAC equipment for no more than $200,000.

“These are upgrades that are needed,” said Vice Chairman of the Board Kathryn Garvey. “Sometimes the equipment needs to be replaced or repaired, so we’re a long way from that.

“But I think air quality has been a high priority for the district, and I think we’re well on track with this latest project to be completed in high school to have a very comfortable, clean air environment for our students. . ”

Garvey noted that these projects were recommended for approval by the Board’s Capital Planning Committee when it met on Sept. 28.

She also said Chris Woofter, the district’s director of operations and strategic initiatives, has confirmed that every building in the district will have air conditioning, except for two rooms in the high school “which are “infrequently used”.

Treasurer Ashley Brudno said the district has allocated some of its federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money and Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to help cover the costs of this project.

“The HVAC upgrade is an allowed use of those funds to purify the air and make it a safer environment,” she said.

Board chairman Phil Rankin said the capital budget has been “a key area of ​​focus” for the school board in recent years.

“We’ve actually increased our capital expenditures from $400,000 to about $2 million a year,” he said.

The district has used Wright Engineering for professional services in the past, according to the resolution passed by the board of directors.

COVID-19 update

Also on Wednesday, Chief Inspector Jennifer Penczarski said not much has changed for the district regarding COVID-19 cases, and she sees that as “a positive for us.”

According to the district’s COVID-19 dashboard, updated Wednesday, there are only two active student cases and no active staff cases.

Since August 23, 16 student affairs and four human resources have been reported to the district, the dashboard indicates.

“We’re just staying pretty stable and we’re continuing to monitor,” Penczarski said. “So if we see that significant drop or if we get more information, those would be the triggers that would lead us to re-evaluate our masking policies.

“But what we’re doing is working right now, and I want to say a huge thank you because everyone has done a great job.”

On September 23, the district mandated face masks in all school buildings, from kindergarten to grade 12, for students, staff and visitors, effective September 27.

When the school year began on August 19, the district mandated indoor face masks for students, staff and visitors from kindergarten through sixth grade. Masks were “highly recommended” indoors for students and staff in grades 7-12 and for preschoolers over the age of 2 and staff.

Face masks are not mandatory for students or staff outdoors.

“I know it’s not easy; I know nobody wants to do it,” Penczarski said.

“But we haven’t seen an increase (in cases of COVID-19), and we’re just holding on a little bit. I think that’s a good place to be right now.”

State report cards

At the next board meeting, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Chagrin Falls High School library, Penczarski said she will discuss the changes made to the Ohio School Report Cards and how they relate to the district. .

She said she believes the report cards for the 2020-21 school year will be released on October 14, so she will also be thinking about the district’s performance.

In June, the Ohio House General Assembly passed Bill 82, which included changes to the Ohio School Report Cards. Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill on July 1, and it went into effect on September 30.

Penczarski added that she plans to present the government’s goals for the district at the November 3 school board meeting.

“Before presenting it as the final plan, I really want the district leadership team to have time to review it, and that meeting is next week,” she said.

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