Input sought on Streetsboro school plan

By Bob Gaetjens | Gateway News Editor Published:

While Streetsboro Board of Education members have decided on a basic plan for new facilities, there will be opportunities for residents to share their thoughts on specific aspects of the plan.

While the Ohio School Facilities Commission will pay 35 percent of the estimated $66.1 million cost of the district's plan to build a new high school, close the middle school, renovate Campus Elementary School and close Wait Primary School, the OSFC won't contribute to certain items, which it refers to as Locally Funded Initiatives.

Such items include auditoriums, stadiums, field houses and other items, which local school boards can take on as part of the cost of a larger project.

The board informally decided last week to seek the community's input on which, if any, Locally Funded Initiatives to add to the district's $29.2 million it needs to raise in the form of a bond issue to complete the project.

"We definitely need to get community input," said board member Cynthia Pennock-Hanish.

Board member Kevin Grimm said he would prefer an actual auditorium over a "cafeterium," which the OSFC would contribute money toward. A "cafeterium" or "auditeria" is a combined cafeteria and auditorium, featuring lunch tables and chairs with a stage at one end.

"I think we owe it to our kids to give them a nice place to put on theater productions," he said. "There are so many things we can do and share with the city."

Grimm said community events could take place at an auditorium, as well as student performances.

Board member John Kelly said the district ought to consider a new field house, which could house a variety of functions, including everything from indoor baseball training facilities to a weight room.

"The community could use it, as well," he said.

Dr. Tim Calfee, Streetsboro superintendent, said the district can ask the community about including a variety of uses.

"It kind of depends on what you want," he said. "The sky's the limit if you want to talk about it."

In a survey, Grimm said it would be nice to be able to ask respondents which specific uses they'd like to see in a field house, with the understanding that more features would add to the estimated $29.2 million the community would have to raise.

The board also plans to ask the community whether it wishes to finish the track and stadium renovations which are under way. New lighting, a new track and more are planned.

"You could get to a $1 million on the stadium renovation really fast," said Calfee, estimating the cost of lighting would be around $200,000 and a new track could cost $500,000.

Lesak also said it might be worth asking the community whether it would like a pool to be included in the project.

"I'm just throwing it out there," he said. "Not saying I want one."

Pennock-Hanish said pools are expensive to maintain and operate.

"A lot of high schools have beautiful pools that they can't afford to keep open and operate," she said.

Grimm also brought up the idea of partnering with the Portage County District Library to create a new Streetsboro branch within the new high school.

"We can find out from the library how interested they are," he said.

Calfee said negotiating a partnership could be "very complicated," which could put a crimp in the board's schedule if it wants to place an issue on the November ballot. The Board hasn't set a date for a ballot issue.

Board president Denise Baba said it would be helpful to community members if there were estimates available for each of the Locally Funded Initiatives the survey asks about, so residents have an idea how much each item would add to the eventual bond issue.

Treasurer Cathy Rouse said there ought to be a way to create an online calculator that keeps track of how much the plan costs as community members add options on a survey.

In addition to a survey of some sort, the School Board plans to host two community forums where residents will be able to hear about the plan first hand.

Baba suggested including a presentation, a question and answer period and distribution of the survey at the community forums.

None of the community forums have been scheduled.

For more information, call the school administration office at 330-626-4900 or contact a board member.

Contact this writer at 330-541-9440 or bgaetjens@recordpub.com

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.