Schools to focus on buildings’ future

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

The Troy City Schools are gearing up for a 2017 public discussion on how to deal with the district’s aging buildings.

Talk of the project has been heard for months as SHP, a Cincinnati firm, was hired by the Board of Education earlier this year to help collect information and facilitate discussions on facilities.

In the end, the district will determine whether to continue with current buildings, renovate and update them or build new.

The district’s buildings range from the newest, Troy Junior High, at 44 years to the oldest, Van Cleve at 103 years.

The district has had an increasingly difficult time keeping up with capital improvement needs for its facilities.

The current 1.1-mill permanent improvement levy generates around $685,000 a year. However, a five-year plan on needed repairs/work shows a need of around $3 million a year, Superintendent Eric Herman and Treasurer Jeff Price said this summer as the review process was about to begin.

Part of the discussion now includes the Ohio School Facilities Commission. The district has been talking with OSFC representatives about a possible construction project. The district would qualify for 33 percent state funding that would have to be combined with 67 percent local funding.

The board of education has discussed a possible proposal before voters later next year.

The initial group of citizens asked to help with the schools project met in August for educational visioning.

The group was supposed to be followed by a community group to address a more defined topic of facilities. The meetings originally planned for September were delayed until after the district receives information from OSFC on its building assessments and enrollment projections.

The meetings now are expected after the first of the year.

In the meantime, district leaders have been meeting with staff at each building to outline the review process.

Herman said the basic message was that the facilities review would not be a simple process. “I share with them that on the board we have our ‘tear them down’ and then we have ‘keep them all.’ I think that will be in every group,” he said.

Board member Tom Kleptz said people are looking for details of a plan: “We have been careful not to have a plan. The job is to listen.”

Information on the facilities process now can be found on the district website at www.troy.k12.oh.us under Future of Education.