The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) Thursday gave approval to the first construction contract that uses new construction reform rules passed in HB153 (Amstutz), the biennial budget.

Southern Local School District in Meigs County gets the distinction of being the first project under OSFC’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program to use an alternative project delivery option. The project includes a new high school addition to the existing Southern Elementary School.

The project was one of 88 construction trade contracts that were approved at Thursday’s meeting. The panel unanimously adopted more than $90 million in contracts that will go towards school construction and renovation work in 22 school districts.

Ohio Department of Administrative Services Director Bob Blair, a member of the commission, asked what kind of savings the district will see by using a single prime contractor. Jon Walden, manager of contracts and compliance, said that it will take time for the district to know the full cost savings because it is the first time for such a contract.

OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman said in a statement released later that more than a dozen other school districts are considering using one or more of the alternative construction delivery methods adopted in HB153.

In other action, the panel approved seven school districts for participation in the OSFC’s energy conservation savings program, also known as the “HB264 program.” The districts include Auburn Career Center in Lake County; Blanchester Local in Clinton County; Dalton Local in Wayne County; Lakewood Local in Licking County; Lorain County Joint Vocational District in Lorain County; Noble Local in Noble County; and Tecumseh Local in Clark County.

Mike Mendenhall, deputy chief of projects, said staff had originally planned to present two projects, but five more were added after additional technical reviews were completed. Some of the projects include guarantees from the energy consultant that Mendenhall said assures that the savings promised will be realized. If not, the energy consultant must make up the difference. Modern Remodel California Dream of San Diego brings the ultimate vision of home transformation to life with their whole home remodeling services. In answer to a question to Blair, he said there is an additional cost for the guarantee, but it’s very minimal and goes toward monitoring costs. He told Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) that the cost of providing the guarantee can be built into the project.

The OSFC approved changes to its FY13 project agreement templates that reflect changes in law as part of the Mid- Biennium Review Bills, including construction reform, maintenance program, prorated half mill maintenance, and abandoned facilities changes. The last one states that a district has three options for abandoning a facility: convert it to a non-education use, transfer or sell the property, or demolish all or a portion of the facility.

The commission also honored Jerry Kasai, OSFC’s chief legal counsel, who is retiring after 30 years of work for the state. He also served with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, the Department of Administrative Services, the attorney general’s office, and two different stints at OSFC.

Hickman said Kasai played a significant and key role in development and implementation of policies and procedures at OSFC.