While whittling down candy leftover from the Fourth of July parade the Dayton City Council discussed a building permit for the new addition at the elementary school. There were two major issues. The first of which was the definition of a water hookup. Superintendent Spencer Barzee, who was at the meeting to hear this decision, was functioning under the assumption that a water hookup was any metered connection used for drinking and culinary use. The question arose when it was noted that the new addition must be connected to the city’s six-inch main pipe to supply it with fire suppression. Whether that counted as a “water hookup” or simply as a type of fire hydrant was answered by the decision that a fire hydrant would not be metered like a drinking water hookup and that it would not be used except in cases of emergency.
Councilman Stacy Moser questioned Barzee extensively about the system and the construction schedule. According to Barzee the addition is planned to be mostly completed by August 2022 with the cafeteria and multipurpose room ready for use. By that time it is possible that the city will have at least one new well online. Aaron Beutler, the engineer in charge of the city’s water project, reported to the council that at present, everything is on track to have a production well drilled by spring 2022. That would enable the city to lift, or at least loosen, the current ban on new water hookups. It should be noted that this timeline is valid only if nothing goes wrong with either project.
The other issue concerning the building permit was whether or not to approve it as a Class 1 or Class 2 permit. Class 2 permits require the council to hold a public hearing, send letters to the owners of the neighboring properties and a formal review of the plans by an expert. A Class 1 permit doesn’t have those requirements. On this point the council was split down the middle.
Those in favor of the Class 2 permit were Councilmen Dee Beckstead and Moser, who felt that because the new addition to the elementary is going to be larger than the current elementary and the principle of the matter, the new construction should be considered a new building. For reference, the elementary is 16,000 square feet and the addition will be 36,000 square feet. Beckstead hopes that a public hearing will pacify the citizens and reduce any potential public outrage over the possible perception that the council was giving the school board carte blanche.
Councilwomen Anna Mae Ward and Lain Telford favored the Class 1 permit. Telford countered Beckstead’s concerns saying that naysayers would exist even with the hearing, and the need for the elementary expansion was too great to say “No,” to. She also believes that the addition, regardless of size, is still attached to the current elementary building, which was built in 1989, and therefore qualify’s for the Class 1 permit.
According to current city codes any new large freestanding structures such as a school or church must have a Class 2 permit, be that for a new addition or completely new building. There is one proviso to this regulation though. Any addition or modification to any existing structure built before 2006 only requires a Class 1 permit. All three school buildings were built and completed before that deadline.
Richard Reeder, of Dayton’s Planning and Zoning, referenced plans for a future new high school that the school board has been mulling over. Out of precedence — when the West Side auditorium was built it only required a Class 1 permit, Telford stated that since the school would be a free standing structure built after 2006 it would be subject to the need for a Class 2 permit.
With the council split, the deciding vote fell to Mayor Melvin Beutler who chose to shelve the matter until the end of the meeting while he considered it. Then, citing that the elementary was an addition and not a free standing structure, the project was granted a Class 1 permit.
That out of the way, there is another major issue that is looming on the horizons for the city. The Fiber Optic internet company, Direct Communications, that is laying cable throughout the city, is far from done and the ground is freezing. At present, none of it is connected and some of it is even still above ground, as it is in front of the Dayton City building.
Dayton is not alone as Direct Communications is behind in other towns as well. They have until December 15 to complete the project, the problem is how do they define completion? In order to qualify for the grant they have to complete one speed test for the entire city to get their money. If they don’t they could go bankrupt and leave the city with a lot of brightly colored conduit sticking out of the ground. The company has promised that they will be finished by Dec. 1.