Fairborn could build new schools, will put it on ballot in 2020

Fairborn High School. STAFF/JAMES RIDER

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Fairborn High School. STAFF/JAMES RIDER

Fairborn residents will vote on whether to build another new school complex in November 2020.

The Fairborn City Schools Board of Education approved a resolution for an option to buy property east of Interstate 675 at its meeting on Thursday night. School district officials said they have been holding “listening sessions” with community members to try to determine what to put on the property.

RELATED: Fairborn considers new school buildings

A new primary school is currently being built in Fairborn and on schedule to have students in it in August. Fairborn’s intermediate school will also be rebuilt as part of that process, tied to a bond levy approved by voters in 2016.

Fairborn City Schools Superintendent Gene Lolli said the new proposal is basically a continuation of those two new buildings.

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“I hope that we can continue moving our school buildings into the 21st century,” Lolli said. “Our kids deserve it.”

If the district were to buy the property, Lolli said, it would build a new middle school, a new high school or both.

The district would look to buy the property if the community votes in favor of the bond in 2020. Bond votes are a one-time decision to pay off school construction costs over a 37-year period.

The 86-acre site sits between Commerce Center Boulevard and Interstate 675, south of Garland Avenue. The land is currently owned by Oberer Construction Managers, LTD.

Lolli said the district hasn’t determined the bond millage yet. Once the school district learns more about what the community wants in a new school building or buildings, a millage will be determined.

The board also approved a resolution for an Expedited Local Partnership (ELPP), which could provide additional state funding for the proposed buildings.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission offers millions in state dollars toward school construction if the local community approves a bond levy to contribute its local share. Districts become eligible on a rolling basis tied in part to community wealth/poverty – which also determines the sliding scale of how much the state will pay.

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The Fairborn primary school is on schedule to have students in it by August. STAFF/JAMES RIDER

The Fairborn primary school is on schedule to have students in it by August. STAFF/JAMES RIDER

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The Fairborn primary school is on schedule to have students in it by August. STAFF/JAMES RIDER

OFCC officials met with Fairborn representatives last week, according to OFCC spokesman J.C. Benton.

He said the proposed new project would be considered under Fairborn’s existing Master Plan, but added that some numbers in the plan may need to be updated based on enrollment projections and construction costs.

RELATED: Schools hope state match triggers building boom

Dozens of local districts have sought a mix of state and local funding to build new schools, from Dayton, Trotwood, Huber Heights and Northmont that built years ago, to Northridge, which just opened its new PK-12 campus this fall.

Greenon and the Greene County Career Center are under construction now, and West Carrollton voters this week approved a project using the same ELPP process that Fairborn is considering.

Other communities, such as Tipp City, Valley View and Yellow Springs, have rejected similar plans to build new schools. Troy, which saw one plan rejected two years ago, just announced it will seek voter approval of a modified plan on the March 2020 ballot.

In 2016, Fairborn residents voted in favor of a 2.95-mill bond levy to build new primary and intermediate schools.

RELATED: Construction of two Fairborn schools on track

The cost of both schools, including architectural fees, is $58 million. The state covered about 46% of that.

The new primary school is replacing a 60-year-old building at 4 W. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. The new building will be two stories tall and 130,444 square feet. It is being built next to the playground at the current primary school.

The old intermediate building will be demolished, and the new building will be built in its place at 25 Dellwood Drive. The new 103,163-square-foot intermediate school will be completed by the fall of 2022.

Lolli said the school district plans to survey the community and hold more listening sessions to determine what to build on the land. Depending on what the community wants, Lolli said his preference would be to build both a new middle school and high school.

The current middle school was built in 1950, and the high school was built in 1971, Lolli said.