April 16, 2014

Elyria
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Ridgeville district pitches campus

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The North Ridgeville school district kicked off its campaign to pass a 4.99-mill levy for a central campus school system Tuesday night.
The Board of Education was joined by representatives from Regency Construction, architects Burgess and Niple, and bond issuers A.G. Edwards during a public meeting to explain the first phase of the project to City Council and the public.
If the levy is approved by voters in November, the $54 million project will add a new elementary school, new middle school and additional classrooms to the high school by fall of 2009.
The 47-acre Bainbridge Road central campus would address increasing enrollment at all grade levels, Superintendent Larry Bowersox said.
He said the district expects to grow by more than 100 students per year over the next decade, and the central campus would help consolidate services while providing a design that allows for future expansion.
Of the district’s seven existing buildings, five were recommended for demolition by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission last year. The education center and high school were the only buildings that met state standards.
Although the school district is low on the facilities commission funding list — sitting at No. 465 — construction will remain compliant with its standards, allowing the district to remain eligible to receive funding for up to 24 percent of the building costs allowed to be recouped by the commission.
Bowersox said that although nothing was guaranteed, the state estimates that the funds could arrive in less than seven years.
The project falls just below the $55 million debt limitations of the school district, but plans for the district’s expansion don’t end there.
The second phase of the central campus is based on conservative estimates of growth over the next five to six years and includes two new additional elementary schools.
School officials said that if the city continues to grow as expected, collections on the 4.99-mill levy would decrease to 2.7 mills by 2013 as the tax base expands. At that point, voters likely would be asked to approve a 2.1-mill levy to bring the collection rate back up to the original levy amount.
Also in the second phase are a 7,500-seat football stadium and track and a performing arts center. Combined, the cost of the first and second phases total around $100 million.
Current school property, like the Center Ridge Road location of the current middle school, could be sold to help offset some of the costs.
Bowersox said the school district intends on informing residents about the projects through an upcoming Corn Festival booth, open houses in the fall and community forums in September and October.
“This is an opportunity to provide our students with top-notch facilities for years to come,” he said.
Contact Stephen Szucs at 329-7129 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.