Russell Elementary School is one of several older schools in West Carrollton that will be replaced in years to come after voters approved a bond issue Nov. 5, 2019. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

West Carrollton schools start construction planning after levy passes

Now that West Carrollton voters have approved a school bond levy by a wide margin, the school district is beginning the first steps in what will be a long process toward building new schools.

School district business manager Jack Haag said the first step locally is to issue a “request for qualifications” for an architect and an engineer, and then hire those professionals to start the design process.

Haag said residents will have some input in the school designs when the process gets further along.

OCTOBER: Full details on West Carrollton bond issue

“The aesthetics, from the outside of the building, they’ll have some input on what they want the building to look like in their neighborhood,” Haag said. “We’ll also give them some options on finishes on the inside of the building and classrooms.”

The next school board meeting is 6 p.m. Wednesday at West Carrollton High School, in the community room behind the auditorium.

The district plans to build four new schools to replace all its existing buildings. Haag said the project will be done in phases, because of the way state funding will become available.

The district will use the just-approved bond money to immediately plan and then construct the preschool through first-grade school as well as the fifth-sixth-grade school, with targeted opening dates of fall 2022. The preK-1 school will be at the current middle school site, and the school for grades 5-6 will be on the current CF Holliday site.

RELATED: West Carrollton closing a school in summer 2019

School officials said each of those locations has a large enough footprint that students will not be displaced from their existing schools while construction is going.

Ohio Facilities Construction Commission documents show the state will contribute more than $92 million to the project. School district officials have said the total principal cost of the four-school project is estimated at $124 million, with millions in interest payments on top of that.

In three to six years, when West Carrollton’s turn for Ohio Facilities Construction Commission funding comes up, the district will begin work on the grade 2-4 building (at the current middle school site), and the grade 7-12 campus at the existing high school site.

Montgomery County Board of Elections results showed voters approved the bond levy by a 63-37 ratio. Voter turnout was only 21 percent.

RELATED: School levies put focus on state funding fight

Of 19 precincts that vote on West Carrollton school issues, 17 voted in favor of the bond, including all seven West Carrollton precincts and all seven Miami Twp. precincts. The single Kettering precinct that has only a few West Carrollton schools voters opposed the bond 2-0. And in Moraine, only Precinct 1A in the city’s northeast voted against the bond, and that only by an 18-17 total.

The 37-year, 5.6-mill tax increase will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $196 per year. Those who qualify for the homestead exemption will pay less.

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