Renovate Ohio's Historic Schools

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Myths

Don’t older schools require more frequent and more costly maintenance?

Yes, older schools need maintenance, but these schools have probably only received band-aids in recent years (deferred maintenance).  A comprehensive renovation would renew the systems to last another 50 – 70 years with no more maintenance than a new school would require.

Don’t older schools keep new technology from being used?

Older schools commonly have high ceilings and tunnel systems, routing communication cabling throughout the building is not difficult, and costs no more than in new construction.  Many renovated schools offer state-of-the-art computer labs connected through up-to-date networking infrastructure.

Don’t older schools usually leak?

Leaks are usually related to roofing and windows. Both are chronic when maintenance has been of poor quality or non-existent.  A comprehensive renovation will address these issues with new roofs and new windows comparable to new construction.  Even many new schools have leaky roofs.

Don’t older schools usually have mold?

Older schools can have mold, especially if the roof or windows leak.  Mold abatement is not difficult or expensive.  The extensive presence of mold in the ventilation system is serious and likely requires the replacement of much of the system, but know that in new buildings molds are often found in ventilation systems within a few years of construction.

Don’t older schools have asbestos?

All asbestos must have been documented and abated or contained under the American Health and Environmental Rights Act (AHERA) applying to all school facilities.  Shortly after the passage of AHERA in the 80’s the cost to address asbestos skyrocketed.  Today the asbestos abatement field is very competitive, the costs reasonable and a routine aspect of building renovation.  Proper asbestos removal is still necessary prior to any building demolition.

Don’t older schools cost more to renovate?

This is not necessarily the case.  The State of Pennsylvania and Michigan have conducted studies that prove renovation of existing schools is significantly less expensive than building new.  Pennsylvania calculated the average cost to build new was $212.99 per square foot, while renovation cost $114.16 per square foot.  That’s almost a $100 per square foot savings to renovate.  In fact, both states renovate where possible and build new only when necessary.

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