Move to Russell saves in long run

Moving the district office to Russell Elementary School would cost money this year but result in six-digit savings each of the following three.

According to Warren County School District Director of Buildings and Grounds Services Dr. Norbert Kennerknecht, the move would cost the district about $125,000 in the first year.

Moving 14 air conditioning units would run about $8,800. Constructing cubicles would cost about $29,000 and full-height offices another $11,200. Adjusting the electrical system and technology would take about $11,000.

Carpet to deaden noise would be the big ticket at $46,000.

The actual moving of equipment and materials would cost another $18,720.

The district pays $8,551 per month to Warren State Hospital to lease 39,000 square feet of the Curwen Building currently occupied by the district office.

Kennerknecht suggested that if the move were complete by the middle of the 2014-2015 budget year, it would save the district six months of rent – or about $51,000, bringing the budget impact of the move down from $125,000 to $74,000.

Director of Pupil Services Ruth Nelson said the proposal for the school would have it divided into 46 office spaces, four conference rooms, and some other spaces.

The cafeteria would be reconfigured to accommodate board meetings.

The freezer equipment would help the district store “large commodities,” she said.

The gymnasium would remain. Schools with conflicts or problems with their facilities could use Russell for practice. It would also allow a physical education component for the Learning Enrichment Center, should it also move to Russell.

Moving the LEC from the Stone Building at the state hospital would cost about $17,955, according to Kennerknecht. Being out for one year would save about that amount in rent. The district pays $17,605 a year to lease the current 6,650-square-foot LEC space.

According to Kennerknecht, installing another computer lab at Russell would cost about $11,860, and moving costs would be about $4,224.

He said Transportation Manager Mike Kiehl calculated an increase to the district’s annual transportation costs of about $1,871 to bus LEC students to Russell.

According to Nelson, the LEC would have four classrooms and some additional office spaces.

The district also rents warehouse space in another building at $3,387 per month. Officials plan to move the district out of that building as well.

“In years two, three, four, and five, we’d have cost avoidance of $102,613 for each of those years,” Kennerknecht said.

The district is motivated to keep Russell open.

Closing the school would cause the district to lose state reimbursements of $394,000 over the next nine-and-a-half years, Kennerknecht said.

The board unanimously approved taking the necessary steps at no cost to obtain a change-of-occupancy permit for the school.