Troy district leaders to look at options for new schools

A Troy mother walks with her sons near Troy’s Hook Elementary School, one of six elementary buildings in the district. The board of education is exploring options for new buildings. BAKER/STAFF
Caption
A Troy mother walks with her sons near Troy’s Hook Elementary School, one of six elementary buildings in the district. The board of education is exploring options for new buildings. BAKER/STAFF

Troy school district leaders agree they need to do some homework of their own before moving into a more detailed exploration of options for new school buildings.

The board held on Oct. 24 the second of a series of planned work sessions with new district Superintendent Chris Piper and other administrators to discuss the need for buildings and the best way to address that need.

A proposed bond issue for two new schools for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade on property off Ohio 55 at the city’s west edge was defeated by voters in November 2017.

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The board hasn’t made a decision but again discussed looking at another bond issue proposal possibly in May 2020 at the earliest.

“That would give us time to get together a well-structured, thorough campaign,” for whatever option is selected, Piper said.

The district currently has six elementary schools, a sixth-grade building, a junior high and a high school with an average age of 71 years.

“This is real. It is urgent. We need to address it,” school board President Doug Trostle said of the need to work toward replacing aging buildings with fewer structures.

Among the questions needing answers in coming weeks are whether to buy the property off Ohio 55 proposed last year as the site of the two buildings. The option on the land expires at year’s end.

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That decision could be affected by a current exploration of possible building sites in the southern part of the community.

The other major question is how many students could be handled with expanded facilities at existing sites such as Cookson school to the east, Hook Elementary to the north and Concord school to the west.

District administrators earlier met with city leaders about possible use of city park land next to those existing buildings, if a larger building was proposed on a site.

“Once we have those answers, that is going to help us narrow down our options, potentially,” Piper said.

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Those options then can be discussed with the community first at coffees Piper is holding this year and, later, at public meetings, he said.

“It would behoove us to keep open minds … I don’t think we need to decide quite yet what the people want until we know what the people want,” board member Ginny Beamish said.

Continuing with the current number of buildings and costs is unsustainable, Trostle said.

“We need more input, but I think we have to have some clarity as to what we consider to be reasonable alternatives,” he said.