District explores building projects

Sandusky Schools may pursue state funding to construct or renovate buildings as early as 2014.
Alissa Widman
Sep 20, 2013
At a meeting Monday, board members agreed to begin gathering information from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, a state organization that provides partial funding for construction or renovation projects it oversees.

The process is free and does not commit the district to a project, but it begins a necessary community conversation,superintendent Eugene Sanders said. The commission will analyze the district’s existing buildings, identify problem areas and provide cost estimates for various projects.    Estimates in previous years indicated the Ohio School Facilities Commission could cover about half the cost of a Sandusky Schools building project, Sanders said.

The district will host a series of meetings this fall to get community members involved in the facilities discussion, one at each district building. The first is 6 p.m. Monday at Hancock Elementary School.

The hour-long gatherings will include a brief presentation and an opportunity for audience members to ask questions and address any issues, not just facilities. The events are geared toward district parents, but anyone can attend.

“We want to talk specifically to each school community about our overall priorities for the district this year,” Sanders said. “It’s not exclusively about facilities, but having that discussion is one of our priorities.”

The district’s academic transformation plan will be another key point during the presentations.

Ultimately, academic plans and community member input will determine what facilities the district pursues, board president Faith Denslow said.

“You don’t plan around buildings, you build around your plan,” Denslow said. “With these conversations, we need to hear how parents feel about our academic direction and whether they think our facilities support that direction. If there isn’t a buy-in from the community, it isn’t the right time to build or renovate.”

Sandusky Schools has already hosted a few “Summer Conversation on the Future of our Schools” meetings with community stakeholders and organizations, with facilities a primary topic of discussion.

Sanders highlighted a possible timeline for a facilities improvement project during those meetings, designating the fall as a time to gather valuable information. Any decisions, such as confirming a project with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, likely won’t come until next summer.

Regardless of the final plan, Sandusky High School will remain standing, Sanders has said.

Comments

Gardenman

Not against the building project but this comes to immeidate thought. There is a trail all over Sandusky of vacant, former and now sold, etc school buildings and now the district wants to build even more buildings so I guess they can add to the already list of vacant school buildings.

Darkhorse

And this is why they needed a levy passed? Looking for a new school to put on the old Memorial Hospital lot?

PoppaWidge

Darkhorse,

A levy is for school operations and capital projects (the new schools) are funded by bond issues. The term for bonds is often 25-30 years while a levy can often be 5 or 10 years and must be renewed.

As a SHS grad from very long ago and with 50 years in education (teaching and administration), the current Sandusky elementary buildings are not really what's needed today.

Wes Poole

Filling seats with students and our vacant houses with families starts with offering an excellent education opportunity. Our superintendent and school board are asking us to partner in planning for our schools future and ultimately the long term ability of the city to attract residents and jobs.
The article states "the commission will analyze the district’s existing buildings, identify problem areas and provide cost estimates for various projects." If we poison the discussion by spinning the conversation into a narrow fight over building a new school, nothing will be accomplished. We need to join in the planning.

donutshopguy

Over the last few years the Sandusky School System has shut down 4 or 5 schools. Now, they are looking at building a new facility. I don't understand the logic.

lor70

Why is everyone ready to be so negative when we haven't heard the total plan yet? Sounds to me that Sanders is trying to seek the public's input and do what's best for SCS! Let's wait and see what he's thinking before we condemn anything!

YoMamma

The logic is quit simple. The district closed buildings due to the reduced enrollment. They right sized the district for the number of students. The current buildings are not falling down or a hazard like those to our south portrayed theirs to be. We simply need to modernize our infrastructure to today's standards.

Didn't do it

How about a 100 x 400 pole barn finished off instead of these fancy school buildings,half the cost and can serve the same.

YoMamma

It has to meet the BS state guidelines.

Gardenman

I remember vividly the levy Sandusky City Schools put on the ballot several years ago to modernize the current buildings. They made additions to the buildings like gyms at elementary schools etc. Had a friend who taught at Adams and he was delighted to get new windows as winter made his room cold due to bad windows.

The levy was one of the few to fail in Sandusky Schools but the next time up up at the election it passed and they got renovations and made additions to the buildings. All these infrastructure upgrades were made.

At the time when this levy came up many people in the community suggested new buildings. NO NO NO was the word we want to preserve these buildings like Adams and Jackson they are good buildings and they will provide us use for years to come once remodeled.

So what happen???? 10 or so years later they closed the buildings WHY because they were failing down or infrastuture was bad NO they did not need them. Too few students. This time many said how come they did not look beyond the end of their nose a few years back and say what they were proposing to renovate buildings was a bad way to go.

So here we go in 2013 and with many school buildings closed that we paid to remodel and renovate what do they want to do............You got it BUILD NEW buildings.

If I ran my business like Sandusky runs their school system I would go out of business.