AASD moving forward with repaving, property purchase

Athens School Board President John Johnson and Superintendent Craig Stage are pictured during a discussion about parking lot proposals during Monday’s special meeting.

The main entrance to SRU Elementary and pavement extending from Pine Street to the Harlan Rowe Middle School campus will be undergoing some improvements as part of a long-term plan for the Athens Area School District’s take care of its paved surfaces.

“There’s just a lot of potholes. It just needed a lot of updating,” Superintendent Craig Stage explained about the work at Harlan Rowe. “Our buses travel that every day and it’s tough for them to weave around potholes. We actually had to put out cones at one point.”

In May, the school board rejected a lone proposal from Bishop Brothers Construction for $473,830.08 that outlined work around all of the district’s buildings. Stage said at the time that the district wanted to “re-prioritize our paving priorities, seek out a little bit more expert guidance and then rewrite the RFP.”

As part of a special meeting held Monday, the school board reviewed four proposals. Bishop Brothers had the lowest bids with $102,357 for the work at SRU and $47,318 for the work at Harlan Rowe.

With $125,495 budgeted for the work overall, the district can use money set aside in its capital project fund balance to make up the difference, according to Business Manager Laura Perry.

In addition, the Athens School Board approved the purchase of 51 Lilley Ave., which neighbors the Harlan Rowe and Lynch Bustin Elementary property, for $41,500.

School board member Joe Joyce pointed out that a lot of negotiation went into securing the deal.

The district currently has no plans for the property, and will just maintain it as “green space” for the time being, according to Stage.

“It made sense to grab it when we could,” said school board President John Johnson.

“It was just presented to us,” said Stage. “We’ve actually been working on that for about four months, so it’s been a long time. The board is always looking to secure the neighbors. It’s just more green space, if anything, just like the other houses we’ve bought on Lilley Ave.”

The closing is currently scheduled for Sept. 30, although Solicitor Patrick Barrett noted that there is a possibility that it could happen earlier.

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