Demolition of 93-year-old building part of Kettering schools’ $5M deal

KETTERING — Demolition of the 93-year-old D.L. Barnes building is planned by Kettering City Schools next year as part of up to $5 million in capital improvement projects.

Tearing down the building at 3750 Far Hills Ave. — which was once a high school and backs up to Kettering’s football stadium — will cost an estimated $2.1 million. The site would be used for green space, according to the school district.

It is the most expensive project on a tentative list for a 10-year deal the board of education approved Tuesday night to finance the work, district records show. A few years ago, district officials said fully renovating the Barnes building would cost close to $17 million.

“The abatement and demolition of the Barnes building are driving the need for the financing because of the size of the project,” Kettering schools Treasurer Cary Furniss said in an email.

The Barnes $2.1 million cost estimate is about equal to the district’s annual discretionary budget in its permanent improvement fund, he said.

“In other words, funding the abatement and demolition would prevent the district from taking on any other maintenance/facility work for (a) full year,” Furniss added.

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Other high priority items on the list include $1.1 million in transportation upgrades, and infrastructure work at Kettering Middle School, Fairmont High School, Beavertown Elementary School and district-wide HVAC work. All those projects have estimated costs at — or exceeding — $500,000, according to documents in the agreement.

The measure approved by the Kettering board states that the projects outlined will not exceed $5 million and will be financed over 10 years.

“I view it as a way for the district to accelerate some of the projects that have become fairly pressing,” board President Toby Henderson said. “Some of these projects that need are attention are, frankly, expensive. Some of that has to do with” inflationary costs.

Permanent improvement levy funds will go annually toward paying for the financing, Henderson said.

The document does not authorize the projects or the budgets, only the financing mechanism, Furniss said.

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The Kettering projects list includes more than $7 million in work and “is greater than the financing by design,” he said.

“The rationale is to plan for more work in the event that pricing comes in under budget and we can add projects into the scope to take full advantage of the dollars,” Furniss added.

The original list of nearly $8 million in work was “scaled back” as projects at Beavertown, Fairmont and John F. Kennedy elementary were not expected so soon, he said.

“Likewise, a heavy dose of inflation has impacted the estimates,” Furniss said.

The district has issued a request for proposals for a financing agency, spokeswoman Kari Basson said.

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A target date to approve a contract for the Barnes project is July 2023, Kettering school records show. Under that schedule, demolition work would go from December 2023 through March 2024.

The financing discussion started in the late summer/early fall of 2021 on upcoming capital needs, including the Barnes building abatement and demolition, Furniss said.

The Barnes building was built in 1929. It was once a high school and then a junior high before the district consolidated in the 1980s. For decades, it housed Kettering schools’ central office before the administration moved to Lincoln Park Drive about three years ago.

At that time, then-district business director Ken Lackey told the Dayton Daily News demolition of the Barnes site was likely to happen, due to a $17 million estimate to fully renovate the building.

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KETTERING PROJECTS

Kettering City Schools has outlined a tentative list of capital improvement projects to be financed in the next 10 years in order of priority. The total estimated cost is $7,156,000. They include:

•Barnes building abatement and demolition, $2.1 million

•Transportation upgrades, $1.1 million

•Kettering Middle School new chiller, $841,000

•Fairmont HS new chiller, $603,000

•Beavertown Elementary roof, $600,000

•District HVAC controls, $500,000

•JFK Elementary roof, $300,000

•Southdale Elementary roof, $300,000

•Orchard Park Elementary new chiller, $277,000

•Football stadium LED lights, $215,000

•Beavertown Elementary driveway, $120,000

•Resurface tennis courts, $100,000

•Van Buren Middle School new boiler, $100,000

SOURCE: Kettering City Schools

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