- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
The cost of a proposed new building on Roostown's existing school campus went up, largely because the building now includes a new auditorium for performing arts and other activities.
A 600-seat auditorium at the proposed new building has driven up the cost of the school by $2.75 million, Superintendent Andrew Hawkins said. The space could be used by any student group in the K-12 building, as well as by the community.
That, plus increasing the square footage of the building to account for larger growth projections, was the reason a property tax on the November ballot jumped from the previously proposed 2.83 mills to 3.95 mills. The issue is combined with a 0.5 percent income tax, which would be applied to Rootstown residents who are employed.
Recently, the board unanimously took the first step toward seeking a combination bond issue and income tax for the K-12 school on the Nov. 7 ballot. The action is expected to be finalized on July 24.
The resolution states that the entire cost of the project is a little more than $41 million. Of that amount, the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission would pay nearly $17 million, or 41 percent, with the district paying about $24.4 million for its share. The district's share includes "locally funded initiatives" such as upgrades to athletic facilities and the auditorium.
Hawkins said the board pushed for a separate auditorium space after learning that an "auditeria" used in other school construction projects would be considered classroom space. That meant the school would have to contain fewer actual classrooms for students.
The board, he added, also was concerned that using the combined cafeteria and auditorium would cause disruption to school lunches and other activities during the day.
"We have to have a place for performing arts for the kids in our district, but also for the community," he said. "We'll be able to do everything but graduation in there."
Since the auditorium could be used for community events, Hawkins said, the board decided against building a separate community room.
The board decided not to build on a 79-acre site at Cook and New Milford roads, adjacent to Gracie Fields in the southeast corner of the township. That site, Hawkins pointed out, would cost about $4.8 million more than staying put. The changes to the building don't alter that cost, because the same building would be constructed regardless of its location.
District Treasurer Connie Baldwin said the board was concerned about the new site, particularly when members learned that the land might not be available for purchase. State law forbids the district from putting an issue on the ballot unless there is a deal in place.
"The board wasn't really willing to spend taxpayer money on unknowns," she said.
Aaron Kurchev, a member of the citizens committee that worked on the recommendation for the new school, said he is working to turn that group into a levy committee. The group is hoping to organize a meeting in the week ahead, he said.
"Lots to do, only 130 days until Nov. 7," he said.