The Streetsboro Board of Education has decided to complete an entire facilities update for the district in one step.
There were two basic elements of a master plan the board was considering last week: The first element is building a new high school that would include the renovation of the current high school as a middle school. The current middle school would then no longer be used as a classroom building. The second element is renovating Campus Elementary School to accommodate kindergarten through third-grade students. Under that plan, Wait Primary School would be closed.
With those components as goals, Ohio School Facilities Commission Senior Planner Bill Prenosil and Streetsboro Superintendent Dr. Tim Calfee presented three options to the board at a meeting Friday: Complete the entire master plan in one step, requiring passage of one bond issue; close the middle school and build the new high school first; or close Wait and do the Campus renovations first. The second two options would have required passage of two separate bond requests, according to Calfee and Prenosil.
Prenosil said there is "a 90 percent likelihood" the district will qualify for OSFC funding, which would pay for 35 percent of the cost of the master plan.
"If you don't, you'll certainly get funded next year," he told the board.
The board did not decide when to place a bond issue on the ballot.
While the total cost of the project is estimated at $66.5 million, the district would have to come up with $29.2 million to complete the plan with no extra options like an auditorium, field house or track.
Raising $29.2 million would require an estimated 3.42 mills, plus an additional half mill the OSFC requires to ensure the facility can continue to be operated. The combined cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would be $124 annually, according to district financial documents.
The rest of the money comes from the state's 35 percent of the project's cost, $23 million, and the district's credit of $13.9 million. The credit has been built up over the past 10 to 12 years as the it has completed necessary projects that also are part of the master plan, according to Prenosil.
Participating in the Expedited Local Partnership Program, which allowed for the accumulation of credit was a good call, Prenosil said.
"I think your district was really smart in the decisions you made," he told the Board.
Because of the way the state's share is distributed and several other factors, board member Andy Lesak said it makes sense to place the entire plan before voters at once rather than in separate pieces.
"If you do it in segments, the first segment is very favorable" because the entire state share in paid out, but "the next segment becomes cost prohibitive because it's all on you," he said.
Additionally, completing one segment at a time prevents the district from realizing savings from other parts of the plan, Lesak said. Some of the anticipated savings come from closing Wait Primary School or the middle school.
If the district builds in two phases, inflation could drive up the cost of the project, Calfee said.
Another factor in the district's favor is the district's enrollment projections, Prenosil said. The most recent projects for the high school indicate it should have 657 students in five years.
That compares favorably with the prior projection that 534 could be at the high school in 10 years, he said. The OSFC bases the size of the building it will contribute to on enrollment, Prenosil said. The higher the enrollment estimate, the more square footage the OSFC will help pay for.
"The bottom line is, it will save the district money," Prenosil said.
But the favorable enrollment projection may only save money on the first phase of a two-phase plan. A new enrollment projection study is conducted each fall to calculate what the OSFC will pay for, Prenosil said.
And there's no guarantee the enrollment in Streetsboro will increase.
"With our 657 number, that's the best enrollment number we've had in the last four or five years," Calfee said.
Lesak said if the board wants to build a school based on housing 750 students, the "difference would be on us."
The board agreed to conduct community forums and a survey in the coming weeks to gauge community sentiment about the plan.
Contact this reporter at 330-541-9440 or firstname.lastname@example.org