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Sandusky Schools building foundation

Alissa Widman Neese • Jul 28, 2014 at 6:11 PM

widman@sanduskyregister.com

Sandusky Schools is one step closer to placing a monumental building initiative on the November ballot.

At an 8 a.m. meeting Monday, all five Sandusky school board members agreed to send a resolution to the Ohio School Facilities Commission, indicating the district's intent to partner with it for a building project, pending voter approval.

In July, board members are expected to officially place the bond issue on the ballot.

If a majority of voters approve the measure, Sandusky Schools will:

•Construct two elementary school buildings — one for preschoolers through third-graders, and one for grades 4-6 — near Sandusky High School, on the old Memorial Hospital site.

•Repurpose Mills Elementary School as an adult education building and Venice Heights Elementary School as the new Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies, a school for gifted students.

•Demolish Hancock, Ontario and Osborne elementary schools, unless someone offers a plan to repurpose them for community use.

•Demolish part of the former Jackson Junior High School building, while retaining the portion containing its gymnasium and swimming pool for public use.

•Renovate science laboratories at Sandusky High School.

The entire project totals nearly $58 million. The Ohio School Facilities Commission would pay for 54 percent of the project, with local taxpayers funding the remaining 46 percent.

The 3.94-mill bond issue, estimated to endure 37 years, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $138 in additional taxes each year.

Construction crews would likely break ground for the new buildings by summer 2015, superintendent Eugene Sanders said in a meeting with the Register this past week.

The earliest students would likely enter the buildings would be fall 2017, he said.

The approved plan was one of nearly a dozen board members considered throughout the past several months. Their goal is to improve facilities and align them with their district-wide academic improvement endeavors.

Discussion at Monday's board meeting regarding the facilities project was brief. Only board member Martha Murray spoke, voicing concerns about the likelihood of voters approving the issue based solely on the argument of improved academics.

She voted in favor of the project, but has "serious reservations," she said. Many individuals who consistently support the schools have told her they are not in favor of the proposed bond issue.

"I ask everyone here today to talk to as many people as possible in the next couple of months, keep an open mind and listen," Murray said. "The most important thing in choosing a building configuration is to please as many voters as possible."

Sandusky Schools bond issue

• If approved, this bond issue would generate funds for a building project costing $58 million total, in a timeframe of 37 years. The proposal would construct two new elementary school buildings, renovate science labs at Sandusky High School and demolish three existing buildings.

• 3.94-mill, 37-year bond issue.

• Would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $138 in additional taxes per year.

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