AIA Ohio News

AIA Ohio News

Commerce Department's David Williamson to Lead Facilities Commission

David Williamson, superintendent of the Division of Industrial Compliance at the Ohio Department of Commerce, will take over next week as executive director of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) and its subsidiary agency, the Ohio School Facilities Commission. 

The OFCC voted 3-0 Wednesday to appoint Williamson to the job, effective Nov. 8, at a salary of $115,000 per year, following an executive session to discuss personnel matters. Budget Director Tim Keen, who chairs the commission and led the search process, said he was impressed by Williamson's knowledge of state government and organizational leadership. 

Williamson has had two stints as superintendent of the division, during the Kasich administration and from 1999 to 2007 in the Taft administration. He previously served as executive director of the Board of Cosmetology and retired as a colonel from the U.S. Air Force after 28 years of service. 

The work of Williamson's division at the Department of Commerce is related to that of the facilities commission, as it oversees building codes and construction industry licensing. 

Keen and his fellow cabinet officers on the commission -- Administrative Services Director Robert Blair and Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr -- offered gratitude to David Chovan, a senior staff member who has served as interim executive director following the October 2014 retirement of former Executive Director Richard Hickman. They also thanked the rest of the staff for their efforts during the transition.

House & Senate Pass Small Business Tax Fix

The House and Senate have overwhelmingly passed legislation to fix budget language that would have inadvertently led to a small business tax increase for 2015.


Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) said SB208 would resolve an unintended effect of the budget bill HB64 (R. Smith) that would have led to a tax increase for some businesses. He said it will help businesses create more jobs and invest in expansion. 

OFCC Outlines Charter School Grant Process & Prison Master Plan

The Ohio School Facilities Commission approved guidelines Thursday for a new grant program created in the budget to help finance charter school buildings. Commission staff described plans for opening applications in the new year and gaining final approval of awards by the end of the fiscal year. 

The biennial budget, HB64 (R. Smith), appropriated $25 million to construct buildings for high quality charter schools, with the state grants financing up to half of the total project costs. 

Jeff Westhoven, chief of facility and program services for the commission, said the guidelines provide high-level details that will be supplemented by further specificity in grant application materials to be presented to the commission for approval in January. 

Under the guidelines, grant applications are to be judged based on three factors: educational, instructional and financial quality. Final awards would be decided by the commission's executive director and the state superintendent, pending approval of the Controlling Board. 

Westhoven said educational quality would be judged on factors such as creating seats to address unmet community needs or involving outside organizations as partners. Instructional quality would be judged on inclusion of features like technology, flexible work space, and natural lighting and acoustic elements that are associated with improved learning. Analysis of financial quality could be based on factors like an applicant's financial and operational history and greater share of local funding, Westhoven said. 

Winning applicants would have to ensure the facilities maintain an educational purpose for at least 10 years following construction, he said. 

The commission also approved guidelines for another budget-funded program, the STEM School Facilities Assistance Program. According to Sarah Spence, legislative affairs manager for the commission, the FY14-15 budget created a program for qualifying partnerships to receive up to a 50 percent state share of funding to construct facilities for a STEM program. The latest budget bill then provided funding for partnerships meeting certain eligibility criteria, namely that it include a group of districts in a career-technical education compact that spans two adjacent counties of between 40,000 and 50,000 population, one of which borders a neighboring state. 

At the subsequent meeting of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, planning chief William Ramsey presented findings of a comprehensive assessment and master planning project for state correctional facilities, alongside Jenny Hildebrand, head of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's (DRC) Bureau of Construction, Activation, Maintenance and Sustainability. 

Ramsey said the review and planning process assessed not only the status and future needs for physical facilities, but also those facilities’ alignment with operational and programmatic needs, such as increased demand for medical and mental health programming and the aging inmate population. The average DRC facility dates to 1973, and while many of them are structurally and physically sound, their mechanical, electrical and other systems are nearing the end of their useful life. 

Marion Correctional and Southern Ohio Correctional showed the two highest levels of individual need, both in excess of $90 million. The oldest facilities are not necessarily the most in need of repair or replacement, Ramsey said. 

Across all facilities, heating systems constitute the greatest need, assessed at more than $200 million worth of work, followed by more than $100 million worth of assessed need for plumbing and fixtures.

The next step will be prioritizing projects for capital funding requests. 
"This is a long term plan …. We want to keep thinking about this every year, every two years, because it's going to continue to change," Ramsey said. 

"This gets me excited for the DRC capital request due Nov. 16," said Budget Director Tim Keen. "I have high hopes for this project, and it sounds like a lot of that has come to pass."
"We need to talk about this project and how it's going with some of our cabinet colleagues … those that have intensive facility footprints," Keen said. 


Kent State's May 4 Visitors Center Receives Historic Preservation Certificate

Kent State University's (KSU) May 4 Visitors Center has been selected by the International Society for Landscape, Place and Material Culture (ISLPMC) to receive its Historic Preservation Certificate of Merit. This award is given yearly to select individuals and organizations engaged in activities designed to preserve historical sites and raise public awareness of preservation efforts.

The award was presented to the center's director, Mindy Farmer, at the society's 2015 conference in North Canton. Farmer attributes the award selection to the May 4 Visitors Center's passion for preservation of the physical site, as well as its focus on educating the public about the events of May 4 and their lasting impact.

"This award acknowledges both our proficiency in interpreting a difficult, confusing event and our commitment to preserving the site and its history," Farmer said. "May 4, 1970, was a traumatic day for this campus, the nation and the world. Yet, the May 4 Visitors Center is a place of healing. With great care, we provide an honest account of an event that might be easier to ignore and we talk openly about tough topics that might be easier to avoid."

Farmer described the honor as humbling.

The May 4 Visitors Center offers an educational walking tour to anyone interested in learning more about the historical significance of the May 4 events. The tour includes stops at locations where key moments took place. "This blending of physical space with educational materials is part of what makes the center such a unique and memorable experience," the center said in a release.

Farmer cites the center's commitment to education as an important aspect of its success.

"We are committed to the academic study of May 4, 1970, and its legacy so that every time a student, alumnus or visitor is asked about that fateful day, they have a thoughtful, evidence-based answer," Farmer said. "In this way, the center serves as a powerful reminder that Kent State University is willing to learn from the past, however difficult, to shape the future."


More information about Kent State's May 4 Visitors Center can be found online at

BBS School Door Barricade Proposal Set For Nov. 16 Stakeholder Hearing

The Board of Building Standards (BBS)  has released its proposed school door barricade Rule and set a Stakeholder hearing for November 16.  Definitions are included throughout the document which you'll find below:  See especially pages 32 & 33 for operational definitions:  

Excerpt from pages 32 & 33:

1008.1.9.11 Temporary door locking device in school buildings. A temporary door locking device shall be permitted when approved by the building official and noted on the certificate of occupancy only in school buildings where the requirements of sections 1008. and 1008. are met. 

1008. Conditions of use. A temporary door locking device shall only be used on doors under the following conditions:

1. The temporary door locking device shall only be used in an emergency situation and during active shooter drills; and

2.     The temporary door locking device is engaged only by a staff member of the school building; and 

3.     The temporary door locking device shall only be engaged for a finite period of time as determined by the administrative authority of a school building in accordance with an adopted school safety plan; and

4.     Evidence is provided that the administrative authority of a school building has notified the police and fire officials having jurisdiction for the school building prior to the use of the temporary door locking device; and

5. In-service training on the use of the temporary door locking device is provided for school staff members and records verifying this training shall be maintained on file and provided to the fire official upon request. 

1008. Operational requirements. The temporary door locking device shall be permitted to be used in accordance with the following items:
1. The temporary door locking device shall not be permanently mounted to the door.

Exception: Individual parts of the temporary door locking device assembly such as bolts, stops, brackets, pins, etc. that do not prevent normal ingress and egress through the door may be permanently mounted provided that when such parts are mounted on a labeled fire door assembly such installation does not affect the fire rating of the fire door assembly.

2. The removal of the temporary door locking device, after it is engaged, shall not require more than one operation.

Exception: Two operations may be permitted to remove a temporary door locking device, after it is engaged, if the school building is equipped throughout with an automatic sprinkler system in accordance section 903.3.1.1. 

Provisions of the “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,” 104 Stat. 327, 42 U.S.C.A. 12101, as amended, may apply to the use of the temporary door locking device but are outside the scope of this code. 

Board of Building Standards Proposed Rules/Stakeholder Meeting Notification

The Board will conduct a Stakeholder Meeting to hear comments and respond to questions on the proposed amendments to the Ohio Building Code summarized below on November 16, 2015 at 10:00 AM in Training Room 1, 6606 Tussing Road, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.  All interested stakeholders are invited to attend. 

Overview of Proposed Rule Changes

Proposed Ohio Building Code Rule Changes
The Board proposes to amend the Ohio Administrative Code in response to adoption of new Ohio Revised Code § 3781.106 included in HB 64 requiring the Board to develop rules for the use of a device by a staff member of a public or private school or institution of higher education that prevents both ingress and egress through a door in a school building, for a finite period of time, in an emergency situation, and during active shooter drills as follows: 4101:1-2-01 to add definitions for Active Shooter Drill, Administrative Authority of a School Building, Emergency Situation, Institution of Higher Education, Private School, Public School, School Building, and Temporary Door Locking Device; and 4101:1-10-01 to add exceptions to Sections 1008.1.9.1, 1008.1.9.3, 1008.1.9.5 for Temporary Door Locking Devices, and to add a new Section 1008.1.9.11 which establishes conditions for the use of Temporary Door Locking Devices.

These proposed rules can be viewed here:

Contact Information for Comments or Questions
If you cannot attend the above Stakeholder Meeting, you can submit written comments or questions on the proposed amendments to the Board.  You may submit your comments via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">'+addy_text18346+'<\/a>'; //-->  or U.S. Mail at Ohio Board of Building Standards, 6606 Tussing Rd, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068, Attn: Regina Hanshaw by November 27, 2015.


Regina S. Hanshaw
Executive Secretary
Ohio Board of Building Standards


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