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School Board will consider $8-million for construction

The no-name storm that hit Pinellas County in March is still costing taxpayers. On Wednesday, the School Board will be asked to approve $113,400 for a new roof over the Dixie Hollins High gymnasium.

The request is part of other construction costs that the board will vote on at the meeting, including $8-million for the new Frontier Elementary in Largo.

The cost of the Dixie Hollins gym roof will be added to renovations taking place now at the school. The total price tag is over $4-million.

Parts of the old roof were blown away by the high winds caused by the storm. The roof was patched, but construction officials continued to examine the building.

"We were suspicious of damage in areas elsewhere (in the roof)," said Tony Rivas, schools director of Facilities Planning and Construction. "We researched it and the best scenario was to put on a new roof."

Rivas said the new roof will go over the old roof so the gym will be usuable when school begins in August _ even though the roof materials will not be available for 16 weeks.

The gym has undergone extensive renations. Rivas said the gym floor has been changed (going east-west, instead of north-south) with bleachers now on both sides of the floor. New locker rooms were also added.

The renovations at the school also include new administration and guidance offices, and new bus and car parking areas.

The cost of building Frontier Elementary, which will open in 1994 just south of East Bay Drive, between U.S. 19 and Belcher Road, was almost $1.3-million over what construction officials estimated. Rivas said estimates were too low in some areas, including air conditioning.

Because of concerns over indoor air quality, the Frontier air-conditioning system is designed to handle 15 cubic feet per minute. In some schools, including Oldsmar Elementary, the air conditioner was designed to handle only 5 CFM in order to save money. But smaller units can mean less fresh air. That was the case at Oldsmar, which closed for renovations in December because of mold and mildew problems.

The cost of Frontier was also increased by its design as a technological school. Rivas said the school will require more electrical capacity than a normal school.

The last new elementary to open was Rawlings Elementary in Pinellas Park, this past year, which cost just over $6-million.