New Philadelphia, Ohio - The community is starting to get an idea of how much it might cost to improve the New Philadelphia school buildings.
Architect Rodwell King of the GDP Group shared an estimated cost for several different improvement options Monday during a community meeting at the district's Front Avenue administrative building.
The district is eligible for state funding to cover 55 percent of the cost to renovate or construct new buildings. King says the caveat is that only buildings with at least 350 students are eligible for this funding.
"If you have a building that’s less than that and you want to keep it, the cost for that is 100 percent on the district," he explains. "If you have a building that’s over that, then they will co-fund whatever you do to that building."
King says if the district consolidates from six to three elementary schools, all their buildings would qualify for funding. They could renovate and expand those buildings, plus the middle and high school, for an estimated local share of about $38 million, or they could replace them with four new buildings for just over $50 million.
King says both these options would eliminate overcrowding and security concerns while repairing and maintaining the current facilities would cost about $14.5 million over the next decade and wouldn't address either of those areas.
“Currently there’s no funding for these repairs, and over the next 10 years, you can see how much is gonna to have to be spent on things like boilers, roofing, electrical, plumbing, emergency lighting, fire alarms, and the sites, repaving the sites just because of wear and tear,” he says.
Superintendent David Brand says repairing and maintaining the buildings would require a 10-year, 3.25-mill levy that would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $10 or month. He says the district could finance the larger projects with a bond issue that would cost the same homeowner a little bit more over a longer time period.
"These options here all live in the $10 to $16 to $20 max window per month per $100,000," he says.
Brand says they are also open to any combination of these options, for example doing repairs at one building and adding on to another. He says it all comes down to what the community wants and what people are willing to support.
"We want the community to tell us what the best option moving forward is. We want to make sure that the kids today, the kids 50 years from now, have that same Quaker experience that made it so special for so many generations," he says.
The district will be presenting this information again during the next two community meetings on February 26th and March 4th. Both meetings begin at 7 pm at the district’s Administrative Building at 248 Front Ave. SW. The district will also be posting this information and another community survey online at npschools.org for anyone who can’t make it to the meetings.
STACEY CARMANY, TUSCO TV