Tipp schools closer to adding classroom space



The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools Board of Education took key steps toward a new classrooms construction project at its December meeting with plans of deciding in early 2019 when to place a bond issue before district voters.

The board voted Dec. 17 to approve a much-talked-about project master plan for the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission Expedited Local Partnership Program.

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The district first is looking at new pre-kindergarten through grade five classrooms in an addition at the L.T. Ball building, which now houses grades four and five. A new building also would be home to students attending the older Nevin Coppock and Broadway elementary buildings.

About one-half of the existing L.T. Ball building would be renovated as part of the plan to go before the facilities construction commission. Work on the rest of the building would come later.

Sam Spano, board president, explained the master plan, project agreement and maintenance requirement resolution all needed to be approved in December so the district request could be finalized for preparation in January before the OFCC and State Controlling Board for inclusion on a construction financing list.

The district now is in line for 35 percent state funding for a classrooms project.

“All we are voting on is advancing the opportunity to secure the money through (the state financing program),” board member Joellen Heatherly said of the Dec. 17 votes.

Whether the board will go to voters for a bond issue in May or November will be decided in early January because the deadline to file for the May ballot is in early February.

“The decision has not been made if it’s May or November. I would caution we have to do this in order to be on the May ballot with ELPP. It still could be November, but if it is going to be in May it had to be done now,” Spano said after the Dec. 17 votes.

District administrators in November advocated a May ballot because of expected cost increases as 2019 moves forward due to increasing interest rates and higher construction costs, among other factors.

The estimated difference in cost for a project between a May and November vote could reach $3 million, Gary Pfister, district director of services, said in November.

Board members had differing opinions on when to ask voters for the bond issue. Some said a May vote wouldn’t give supporters enough time to promote the project while others said waiting until November, and a likely increase in project costs, would not be a good use of money.

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said a series of community engagement meetings to discuss the district’s proposals will resume in January beginning at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at L.T. Ball Intermediate School, 575 N. Hyatt St. Other sessions are planned Feb. 19 and March 16.

Also in the works are coffee discussions and meetings of two newly formed groups, the Hyatt neighbors to discuss a construction project impact on area residents and the Broadway Future group to talk about what happens to that property in the residential areas south of Main Street when Broadway school no longer is in use.

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