HUDSON – Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, construction and renovation projects in the Hudson City School district are still on target.

Bill Schurman, partner with Canton-based Hammond Construction, said that construction at the new middle school is on schedule; the one issue that could come up due to the pandemic was the planned shipments of new furnishings.

""It’s a supply manufacturing issue," Schurman said during the Hudson Board of Education’s April 6 meeting, conducted over Zoom. "There are many things coming from other parts of the country. Some states have shut down certain equipment making."

Schurman said that there had been a planned auction for the old furnishings at the current middle schools, "but we are holding off on that" until they know the school will get the new furnishings.

"It certainly would not be optimal to have a brand new building and old furniture, but it’s something we can consider if we need to," Schurman said.

The school board also unanimously approved the schematic design for East Woods and McDowell elementary schools.

John Peterson, project manager from GPD Group, said that Hudson’s planning commission approved the schematics in January.

Improvements for East Woods, which is used for the district’s fourth- and fifth-grade students, includes an 18,000-square-foot, two-story expansion, which will add 14 classrooms. Once the expansion and other improvements are completed, third graders also will go to this school, which will be renamed East Woods Intermediate School.

The expansion at East Woods will include a new elevator to make the new section compliant with ADA, Peterson said.

Both East Woods and McDowell, which houses the district’s third-grade students, will have new paint, flooring, ceilings, new interior doors, new cabinetry, restroom upgrades, lighting replacement and more. Lockers will be replaced at both buildings, with cubbies replacing lockers at McDowell which, once construction is complete, will become the new pre-kindergarten and kindergarten building. Both buildings also will have partial roof replacements done.

"Over at East Woods, the decision was to go more with lockers to keep things more organized," Peterson said. He added that cubbies, while more expensive, were more appropriate for the younger students.

The contract for McDowell is for $961,008, and for East Woods is just under $1.2 million. The contracts were approved by the school board last month.

Schurman said that Hammond Construction will start taking bids April 27, and that "hard numbers" on costs will be presented at the school board’s planned May 21 workshop to discuss facilities.

The May workshop, as of now, is scheduled to be at 5 p.m. at McDowell, but Board President Dave Zuro said they "may have to do the meeting virtually," depending on if the stay-at-home order issued by the state was lifted. Ohio is under a stay at home order through May 1 due to the pandemic.

"Certainly, for McDowell and East Woods, we are on track," Schurman said. "The middle school and Ellsworth Hill are on good shape, although as we all know the situation has been changing rapidly."

Currently, construction at McDowell and East Woods is scheduled for June 2020 through Summer 2021, with the buildings ready for the 2021-22 academic year, Peterson said.

Bond issue

These and other renovations are being funded through an $81.5 million, 4.97-mill bond issue passed by voters in November 2017. The bond issue also covers:

• A new $46 million, 181,000-square-foot middle school east of the current middle school and Malson Field, which will house the district’s sixth, seventh and eighth graders;

• Improvements at the Ada Cooper Miller Natatorium, which were finished in early January. The $3.2 million improvements on the natatorium, which is at East Woods Elementary School includes new pool equipment, a new scoreboard and starting blocks, a new filtration system, replacing the HVAC system, refinishing the locker rooms, replacing the roof, electrical system upgrades and acoustical treatment;

• An expansion and improvements at Ellsworth Hill, which will cost about $6.14 million and adds 11 classrooms for the district’s first and second graders, starting in the 2020-21 school year. Currently the building houses the district’s pre-kindergarten and second grade students;

• Evamere Elementary School, which currently houses the district’s kindergarten and first-grade students, will eventually be decommissioned as a school building, downsized and renovated to create centralized administrative offices for the district and space for HCER. The cost is estimated at $2.4 million; and

• Renovations at the high school, including the school’s media center, which was dedicated in August 2018 and named for Gerald M. Reeves, who served as the district’s longest-serving superintendent from 1981 through 1993. Reeves, 84, died this past February. Media center renovations were about $450,000.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC