Voters to decide on $16.7M school levy

Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Oberlin board of education members unanimously decided to move forward in seeking a 4.75-mill levy to appear on the November ballot for a new preschool-through-fifth grade campus.

It’s official — a 4.75-mill levy will go on the November ballot to fund a new $16.7 million preschool-through-fifth grade campus.

The Oberlin board of education moved Tuesday to greenlight the measure in support of a 52,000-square-foot building. If approved at the polls, the school will most likely be erected over the Oberlin High School’s southern parking lot.

The levy would cost $166,32 per year for every $100,000 worth of property you own.

But exactly what that would buy remains unclear.

The most recent plan reviewed by the board of education calls for a two-story building with bike paths, an outdoor classroom, a playground, photovoltaic arrays on the roof, reconstruction of Hovey Lane off East Lorain Street, and moving athletic fields to the north section of the land behind the high school.

Officials have to wait until after the levy passes to pay architects for more detailed drawings.

Board vice president Anna Schaum said the plan hinges on the purchase of land to the south from Oberlin College and securing Hovey Lane.

“If we can’t work that out then that means we will have to switch plans,” she said.

Should it move forward, the elementary building is expected to be completed within three years. Combining students from Prospect and Eastwood elementaries under one roof would save the district an estimated $500,000 per year in operating costs.

While there will be no more drawings completed before the election, Schaum promised there will be a lot of public discussion about the project.

The board did receive a $4,000 grant in May from Educational Employees Life Insurance Trust to inform residents about the needs of the district and plans for a new campus.

The cash has to be used by November.

The board expects to start putting together an action plan after a new superintendent is hired July 1.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.