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Sandusky Schools alters building project

Alissa Widman Neese • Jul 28, 2014 at 6:12 PM


Sandusky Schools unveiled big changes to its proposed building project Friday, based largely on feedback officials gathered this summer.

The revised plan would embed two new elementary schools on the current sites of Hancock and Ontario elementary schools.

Additionally, it will spare Osborne Elementary School and parts of Jackson Junior High School from demolition, according to a Friday news release.

Previously, officials suggested demolishing all three schools, and building two new elementary schools adjacent to Sandusky High School on Hayes Avenue.

"We believe this modified plan addresses the issues and perspectives that were brought forward by our parents and citizens, and will allow us to maintain our commitment to the academic priorities of the Transformation Plan," Sandusky school board president Tom Patterson said.

School board members met at 8 a.m. Friday to discuss the changes.

Additionally, all five board members agreed to send a resolution to the Erie County auditor, declaring their intent to propose a bond issue to fund the project to voters this fall.

They'll meet Monday at 5 p.m. to complete the two-step process of officially placing the bond issue, called "Building Better Dreams," on the November ballot.

Anyone can attend the public meeting at the district's board of education office, 407 Decatur St., Sandusky.

If approved by a majority of voters in November, construction could begin as early as next summer. The plan would be the largest building project in Sandusky Schools history.

Its specific details, after Friday's changes:

• Demolish Hancock Elementary School and build a facility for preschool through third grade on its site.

• Demolish Ontario Elementary School and build a facility for grades 4-6 on its site.

• Renovate science laboratories at Sandusky High School.

• 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.

• Retain Osborne Elementary School for transitional space or community use.

• Retain all of the old Jackson Junior High School building for transitional space and community use.

The old Adams Junior High School building would continue to house Sandusky Digital Academy, the district's online school, and will remain unchanged.

Despite the alternations, the project's cost, overall design and timeframe are expected to remain the same as the initial proposal, Patterson said.

The entire project would cost $58 million, with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission funding 54 percent of the project through state funds. Local taxpayers will fund the remaining 46 percent through increased property taxes.

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

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 two 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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