On May 17, 2017, the North Royalton Board of Education met to begin plans for the design, construction and renovation of the district’s buildings, specifically different construction methods, timeline and legal obligations, and processes when working with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. David Riley, the school district’s legal counsel, answered questions and helped advise the board and administration on these issues. Riley is one of the premier legal construction counselors in Northeast Ohio and represents many school districts in these types of projects.Sale of the Bonds
On July 11, North Royalton City Schools' administrators met with representatives from Moody's Investor Services to speak to them about our district, our plan, and our strong financial position. Based on this meeting, Moody's issued our district a credit rating of AA2, which is a strong rating for a school district.
Due to this strong rating, on July 25, Treasurer Biagio Sidoti and Assistant Superintendent Jim Presot, along with our underwriters from Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, sold our $88.9 million worth of bonds for a total interest cost rate of 3.69%. This was better than the anticipated interest rate of 3.75% which will allow us to keep our commitment to our homeowners ($109 per year tax increase per $100,000 home value). The reduced interest rate will also save our taxpayers in interest rate expense as we begin to pay back the bonds. Deposit of the funds into our account has been completed.Selection of an Architect
While all of this was occurring, we solicited requests for qualifications from architectural firms and construction manager firms. On July 13 and 14, as well as August 1, we interviewed four architectural firms. At the Board of Education meeting on August 14, the board approved ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) as the architectural firm for our project. "Not only does TDA focus their business on designing educational facilities, they also have a strong reputation of engaging staff and community in the educational visioning process," said Superintendent Greg Gurka, North Royalton City Schools. "The process of listening to our stakeholders prior to designing is critical to me and to the overall success of the project."Selection of a Construction Manager at Risk
The district is utilizing a Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) delivery method that includes a commitment by a Construction Manager to deliver the project within a Guaranteed Maximum Price, based on construction documents and specifications. The CMR provides professional services and consults in the design development and construction phases. “There are many benefits from using a Construction Manager including an increased level of cost control from the start,” said Gurka. On August 1, Construction Manager (CM) Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) were due. We received 10 firms or combination of firms that would like to be considered. After reviewing the RFQs with the board and administrators, selected firms were brought in for an interview on August 28. On September 11, Hammond Construction was approved by the Board of Education as the Construction Manager at Risk. Hammond has extensive experience building schools and provides a strong team of construction professionals that will lead the project. Educational Visioning
The first part of the North Royalton City Schools' facilities construction process is educational visioning, a collaborative process that results in a comprehensive planning tool that will set the direction for the district's curriculum and design of our facilities. On September 11 and 12, architects from ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) visited all of the school buildings to meet and talk to the staff, as well as look around to get a general feel for the educational processes and cultures of each building.
The second part of this educational visioning process for the North Royalton City Schools' Facilities Project took place on Thursday, September 14, led by architects from TDA. More than 120 people came together at the North Royalton Baptist Church in North Royalton to participate in an all-day discussion to help the district and Board of Education create a shared vision of the facilities project for our schools and community. The group consisted of a cross-section of the community, including representatives from each grade level, department, special area and grade level teams. In addition to a representation of students, teachers, support staff, and administration, the district had individuals from our community who reached out to volunteer their time or responded to the district's invitation for community participation. They included civic officials, parents, community members, and business partners. The completed report was approved by the Board of Education at the October 9 meeting. Areas addressed include building blocks for student-centered learning environments and curricular and cultural goals. This includes core academics, elective curriculum, administration, safety and security, outdoor learning, PE/athletics, music/performing arts, media center, science and STEM, student storage and lockers, maintenance/custodial, special education, visual arts and student dining/food service. "As we stated last month, this will be our guiding document during the design process, in conjunction with the additional conversations that will be held with staff and community members," said Superintendent Greg Gurka. Click here
to review the educational visioning report.