West Carrollton school plan may cost $140M, include consolidation

The district has been studying replacing its schools – all built before 1970 – for nearly two years. It’s awaiting a state decision on funding eligibility before taking action on costs and a specific building plan, according to its business manager.

Attendance requirements for Ohio Schools Facilities Commission funding help require that school buildings have about 350 students, and some West Carrollton elementaries fall short of that total, said Jack Haag, business manager.

“So we would have to change it a little bit on the number of buildings,” Haag said. “We’re seven buildings now. We’d probably drop down to five buildings max with this new program.”

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The district, which includes parts of Miami Twp. and Moraine, anticipates a decision on its eligibility for the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program may come this month. Acceptance would lock in a state assistance rate — potentially up to 81 percent — for a project that could range in cost from $125 million to $140 million, Haag said.

It would also put West Carrollton on a waiting list to be on the state’s Classroom Facilities Assistance Program, he said.

Acceptance into the ELPP permits school districts estimated to be more than two years away from eligibility for CFAP “to receive a district-wide assessment and master facilities plan from” the state, according to the schools facilities commission.

School construction projects in Dayton, Huber Heights, Mad River, New Lebanon, Northridge, Tecumseh are among the area those that have received funding through CFAP, Ohio Facilities Construction Commission records show.

RELATED: State help to build new schools topic in West Carrollton

All of West Carrollton’s seven schools are 50 years or older. The one most recently built – Harold Schnell Elementary – opened in 1969 as Valley Hills School, records show.

The other six opened in 1965 or before, including C.F. Holliday in 1950, Walter Shade Early Childhood Center in 1954, Frank Nicholas in 1957 and the high school in 1960, according to a history written by Dickinson T. Guiler. The most recent renovation or addition was at the high school in 1990.

But until the state’s decision on West Carrollton’s eligibility, the district can’t take action on specific plans for its buildings, Haag said. Consolidation decisions won’t be made without public input, he said.

“There’s got to be some community involvement on that, and we’ve not gotten to that phase yet,” Haag said.

RELATED: School board looks to pick architect to explore new building plan

“We want to find out if it’s even possible to get the funding for it before you go out into the community and get the input on what they would like to see or what or how they’d like to see this look,” he said.

And specific sites for new buildings or decisions on bond issues will not be decided until the state’s decision, he said.

“I think it’s an exciting process for the schools right now for West Carrollton,” Haag said.

“We just want to get to the point where we can finally go to the public and get some input on what they would like to see so we can start moving this project forward,” he added.

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