THE NEW Fostoria Junior/Senior High School building is completely dried in and work is now being done on the inside of the structure. Superintendent Andrew Sprang gave an update on the progress of the building project during Monday evening’s board of education meeting. (Photo by Morgan Manns)

For The Courier

Orange fences. Piles of dirt. Big holes.

Traveling by Fostoria City Schools’ campus, one may think it’s a mess.

But officials say there is a method to the madness.

During a school board meeting Monday evening, Superintendent Andrew Sprang detailed some of the recent work going on around Fostoria Junior/Senior High and Fostoria Intermediate Elementary schools.

“The biggest question that any of us probably hear is, ‘What the heck is going on with all the dirt?’ There’s a lot of things going on there,” he said.

Directly to the east of FJSHS, three detention ponds were created for runoff control as a mandated part of the building project. Parking lot expansion is expected to take place on that side of campus, as well.

Other mounds of dirt are being stored on site for fill dirt to be used during the demolition process because, according to Sprang, it is cheaper to store it on site rather than haul it twice. Other parts of the mounds will become part of the landscaping.

Progress is also continuing at the two buildings. The 7-12 building is completely dried in, leaving work on the inside with the installation of metal studs, hanging of drywall, painting of walls, installation of ductwork and more.

Similar renovations are ongoing at the future Fostoria Elementary School building with lighting and painting.

“Everything is progressing really well,” Sprang said, adding he’ll share more information on the building project update as well as preparations for the 2019-20 academic year at next month’s meeting. “We’re on target for our completion dates.”

To help move the project along, the board on Monday accepted a resolution approving change orders at the new 7-12 and preK-6 buildings.

The orders include $690,883 at Fostoria Elementary for playground equipment and infrastructure not to exceed $205,000, and $200,513 at FJSHS for acoustical wall panels as well as sidewalk, fencing, lighting and mechanical items.

The costs also include technology bids at both buildings, which came in higher than expected.

Contingency funds will be used for the overages.

“We’re just tying up some loose ends,” Sprang explained. “We’re not asking for any additional money. That money comes from the project, which had contingency funds built in it. After you’re so far in the project, you can shift some of that money back into areas where it’s needed. So it says we’re ‘over budget,’ but we’re really not.”

The Ohio School Facilities Commission is funding 89 percent of the nearly $50 million project — $41,851,085 — leaving the district to pay $9,446,893.

The cost includes demolition of most of the junior/senior high school building, which was built in the 1970s, as well as Riley Elementary and Longfellow schools and the former Holmes Elementary School building.

The district will host an open house at Longfellow Elementary School from noon to 2 p.m. and at Riley Elementary School from 3 to 5 p.m., both on May 18. These events will allow people to walk through the buildings one last time before they are officially closed.

Community members can request to purchase a brick from the buildings once they are demolished.