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Progress: Design work underway on new Carey school

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER
CAREY — Design of a pre-kindergarten through senior high school building in Carey is continuing by personnel from Fanning/Howey Associates, a Celina architecture company. The structure is expected to be finished by fall 2016.
Architect Doug Rich presented the building’s floor plan earlier this month. It will feature a pair of two-story wings for junior/senior high school students and elementary school students; an auditeria with cafeteria space; a stage and seating for 650; and two gymnasiums, with the main gym seating about 1,200.
A 6.5-mill bond issue was approved by voters in May 2013 to help fund the estimated $32 million project, with the state paying 70 percent of the cost. School district residents will pay about $10.9 million over a maximum of 37 years.
The 131,000-square-foot building will be constructed on about 40 acres of district-owned land off South Vance Street. The existing building is located on about 7½ acres on East South Street.
Gilbane Building Co., a Rhode Island-based company with offices in Cleveland and Columbus, will construct the new building. The company has constructed school buildings throughout the state, including the Seneca East building in Attica.
Superintendent Michael Wank was hired in July and began work in August. He was former superintendent of Seneca East School District. Wank replaced Mark Vehre, who retired.
Industrial expansion
Elsewhere in Carey, an electric substation and a solar farm will be constructed this year, and funds are being sought for improvements to downtown storm water drainage.
In November, Continental Structural Plastics, 2915 Wyandot County 96, Carey, announced plans for an $18.3 million expansion for an additional paint area. The project will add 50 employees to the plant’s payroll by summer 2015.
The expanded plant will require a larger electric substation.
The county, with assistance from Greg Moon, executive director of Wyandot County Office of Economic Development, will apply for $1.9 million in a U.S. Economic Development Administration Public Works Assistance Grant. The funds would be used for construction of the electric substation and replacement of utility poles. The village, which operates a municipal electric distribution department, will match the grant amount.
Also, a nearly $500,000 Community Development Block Grant will be sought. It is federal money funneled through the state. The funds would help the village with expenses for construction of the new electric substation, to be located across the road from the plant’s parking lot.
The new substation will have two 7.5 megavolt amperes transformers. There is a 5 megavolt amperes transformer at the existing substation.
The substation project is estimated at $2.6 million to $2.9 million. The company will assist with payback through a long-term electrical power contract.
Village Council is considering renewal of the company’s 10-year enterprise zone agreement to assist the expansion. The company’s 75 percent tax abatement expired at year-end 2013. The program provides a tax break to companies that expand and hire additional workers. The enterprise zone covers the entire village.
The village’s enterprise zone negotiating committee will meet to consider renewal of the designation for the plastics company.
In another Continental Structural Plastics matter, council approved the sale of about three-fourths of an acre of village-owned land adjacent to Waterworks Park to Alpha Warehousing, 2801 Wyandot County 96.
The company has buildings near the proposed electric substation site, and will construct a building to lease to the plastics company for additional warehouse space.
Earlier this month, council approved expansion of the village’s enterprise zone to include Arrowhead Commerce Park, being developed by Vaughn Industries at Elm Hill Road and East Findlay Street.
A speculative building for warehouse space is under construction. There will be six additional lots for development within the industrial park.
Vaughn Industries, which celebrated its 50th year in business in 2013, also sought annexation of a portion of the property, which was approved earlier this month by council.
Solar panel project
Construction is expected this year on a solar-power generating area within the village limits.
In October, a new company proposed the $8 million project, which had been considered for several years with a Westerville company.
Jerry Corbin, director of development for Solar Planet Power, Columbus, made a presentation to Carey Council about the solar farm. The farm will generate 2 megawatts of electricity, which will be purchased by the village.
The installation will be on about 11 acres of the village’s water well field.
The village had been discussing the project for years with SolarVision, a Westerville company. The solar farm was expected to be completed last year, but was delayed because of economic concerns.
Now, Solar Planet will assume all expenses, and receive state and federal tax credits. The company has its own solar panels and has financing in place, village Administrator Roy Johnson said.
The company will hire Vaughn Industries to install the equipment, have an area lawn care company handle maintenance of the property, and install a fence around the site. Maintenance of the equipment will be handled by the company.
The village will purchase the electricity for 20 years, Johnson said. Then the village can either buy the solar farm, extend the purchase power agreement for five years, or have the company remove the equipment, Corbin said.
Downtown drainage project
Separately, Johnson said the village has applied for a combination loan and grant through the Community Development Block Grant program for a flood-control project.
The village is seeking a low-interest loan for about $167,500 and a grant of about $235,000.
The village will pay the remainder of the estimated $575,000 project. Work is expected to be done this year.
Residents have been paying a storm water utility tax for years to cover the village’s share.
The project is designed to reduce flooding in the village by installing a culvert extension in Spring Run, the storm water drainage ditch which runs through the village. Carey streets flood during heavy rains, causing the ditch to overflow.
A concrete box culvert will be extended in the downtown, the first phase of the improvement project. It will be part of a larger project along the drainage ditch.
Eventually, the storm water master plan indicates the culvert project will be extended along Findlay Street, behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars building; and then from Vance Street to West Street. The storm water culverts in those areas will be increased in size to allow for faster storm water runoff from the downtown area.
Electric rates
In October, council approved a 2 percent annual increase in electric rates for the next four years because of a declining fund balance. An average $80 residential bill will increase to $86.40.
Separately, during a council meeting earlier this month, Jeff Pearce, an electrical engineer with GPD Group, Akron, made a presentation on a plan to upgrade the village’s electric service.
The project would take about 24 months to complete, Pearce said.
The factory addition, the new school, and the industrial park being developed on the east side will increase electric service requirements. The electric service is already under strain, Pearce said.
A voltage conversion project is planned to increase the village’s capacity from 4,160 volts to 12,470 volts to handle the additional and future electric load on the same size line. It will cost an estimated $2.4 million and be part of a $10 million, 10-year plan, Pearce said.
The substation and voltage conversion are “immediate needs,” Johnson has said. The work is estimated at $6 million to $6.2 million. Upgrades will be done to the Ogg Street and Waterworks Park electric substations, too.
The village will seek financing through American Municipal Power for a portion of the funds, Johnson said.
Statistics
Revenue from the village’s 1.5 percent income tax was up 1 percent in 2013 to more than $1.26 million. The money is split between the general fund, parks and sewer debt.
There were 54 building permits issued in the village last year with a value of $466,321. There was one new residence constructed and one commercial building. The other permits were for garages, signs, sheds, pools, fences and decks.
The village’s voluntary curbside recycling program collected 381,944 pounds of plastic, glass, steel cans, tin, paper, newspapers, chipboard, cardboard and aluminum during 2013.
Maurer: 419-427-8420
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