The Valley View school district is moving forward with a $68 million school construction project after the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission approved its $39.3 million state share Thursday.
The district intends to build a new K-12 campus adjacent to the existing high school, using a mix of state and local funding. Superintendent Ben Richards called the commission’s vote an important step.
“We are ready to move forward,” Richards said. “With approval of our project, we will be creating plans and designs based on staff, student and community input and tentatively plan to break ground in 2022.”
Two of Valley View’s schools are about 100 years old, another was built in 1950, and the high school in 1968. Bond requests for new buildings were voted down in contentious 2016 and 2017 elections, but residents approved a $28.7 million bond plan in spring 2020 to pay the local share of the project.
As of last year, Valley View planned to build new school space for grades K-5 and 9-12 first, while using the existing high school for grades 6-8. Richards said since the state has committed its share of the full project, Valley View will move ahead with a full K-12 building all at once.
He said the existing high school building will house central office staff and the district’s preschool, along with a partnership with the YMCA for additional early learning center offerings. The district hopes to repurpose more high school space for community purposes.
The project funding includes money for abatement and demolition of the three schools being vacated (two in Germantown and one in Farmersville). But Treasurer Laura Sauber said the district has not finalized whether those buildings will be demolished.
The new K-12 campus is to be built immediately south of the existing high school, which sits at the corner of Manning Road and Farmersville-Germantown Pike, between those two villages.
“We have not started the design phase,” Richards said. “We are now entering the phase where we solicit bids for architectural services and construction services.”
Richards said after those contracts are signed this summer, the district will plan public meetings on the design of the project.
The state lists the total “co-funded” part of the project at about $65.5 million, and Sauber said the last $2,473,712 of the bond money is available for “locally funded initiatives” (LFIs).
Richards said most of that LFI money is allocated for extra learning spaces in the new building to accommodate potential growth. He said the rest is for improvements to help repurpose the existing high school.
On the ballot last spring, it was estimated that residents would pay 5.5 mills in local property taxes over 37 years to repay the principal and interest on the $28.7 million in bonds (about $192 annually on a $100,000 home).
The actual sale of the bonds is now scheduled for late May, and will help to determine those rates. Sauber said they hope the extremely low interest rates available currently will benefit residents.
“Because of favorable market conditions, we will pay back fewer interest dollars over a shorter period of time as long as the market is stable,” Sauber said. “The (county) auditor will adjust the millage amount each year to collect only what we need to make the principal and interest payments each year.”
Bond issues are different from some other tax levies. If district property values go up in future years, residents’ bond repayment millage may go down further, as has happened in the Beavercreek and Huber Heights school districts. If property values go down, residents’ bond millage may rise, as happened in Dayton.
Richards said that thanks to voters’ approval last year, the new facilities will “drive the future of Valley View.”
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