Tipp City schools again looking at new classrooms

A facilities master plan process that has started and stalled several times for nearly five years again is active following meetings this summer and initial meetings in August of four new subcommittees.

The committees will look at an overall master plan, fundraising, public information and options for a new football/soccer stadium.

The district in the spring was discussing placing a bond issue for new construction on the ballot as early as this fall. The proposal was to build a new prekindergarten-grade eight building around L.T. Ball Intermediate School.

The plan was abandoned when the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission notified the district it was not high enough on the state funding list for building assistance this year. The commission also said the proposal to use L.T. Ball and build new around it was not acceptable.

Among other issues discussed at the August subcommittee meetings were looking at another master plan, whether to use state facilities money to help pay for construction or go with a proposal totally financed locally, whether to locate a soccer/football stadium at City Park or next to the high school and how to increase community awareness of the facilities discussions. The district’s high school, which opened in 2004, was built with all local money.

Superintendent John Kronour updated the board of education on the discussions during its August meeting.

The overall message from the subcommittees was the district needs to settle on a proposed construction plan as soon as possible, and then work to market the plan across the district, Kronour said.

“We really need to start to hone in on a master plan as quickly as possible. I think it would help us as far as getting information out to the community,” he said.

Spreading the word is key, the board agreed.

A professional survey conducted earlier this year as the board contemplated a bond issue showed that more than 60 percent of those surveyed knew little or nothing about the planning process despite nearly five years of proposals and public discussions.

Also suggested during the committee discussions was exploring hiring a consultant to help with tasks such as sorting through numbers and ensuring the public is aware of whatever construction plan is proposed.

Board member Kate Johnsen said she’d need more specific details on what functions the consultants would perform.

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