Voters will finally get a chance to support the construction of a new PK-12 school campus in Oberlin.
Board of education members opted Tuesday to place a $17.8 million bond issue on the November ballot.
If successful, the funds will first help build a new school to replace Eastwood and Prospect elementaries — but president Anne Schaum said the board is unsure of the grade range.
The proposal is going on the ballot as a 4.81-mill levy to meet state borrowing requirements. “We don’t know if that will be enough to build a PK-5 or a PK-6 school,” Schaum said.
Either way, the goal is to eventually finish a 132,370-square-foot PK-12 school once state money becomes available down the road.
The cost of the second phase is estimated to be $19.8 million, which includes $3 million for abatement and demolition of existing schools. The state would cover $6.9 million — or 35 percent — of the cost, leaving $12.9 million to local taxpayers.
In total, construction is estimated to cost $43.3 million, and the state’s assistance will lower the local price tag to $36.3 million. A $3 million credit would be reimbursed after the entire project is completed.
Those numbers do not include optional locally funded initiatives, such as new board of education offices, staff and athletic parking, or a bus garage.
The project would be completed to meet Ohio Facilities Construction Commission standards as opposed to Ohio Basic Building Code. The cost is significantly higher when building to state code, but the district would not receive state funding if it pursued basic renovations.
For example, BBC does not require air-conditioned buildings or window replacement. OFCC changes all windows and charges $28 per square foot for air conditioning.
Board members have been discussing new school construction since 2008. They’ve previously placed two levies on the ballot before withdrawing each time.
The single-building concept comes with high up-front costs but board members said it will save at least $1 million each year through reduced energy, maintenance, and personnel costs.
Opponents of the project have previously voiced frustration with increased taxes, saying the district should remain fiscally prudent and focus on education instead of aesthetics.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.
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