September 22, 2014

Elyria
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Avon considers levy to build new middle school

AVON — School’s out — of room.

Facing projected enrollment increases, the Avon school district is considering building a $33 million new middle school. The cost would be covered by a 2.5-mill levy that the district may place before voters in November.

The levy would result in an additional cost of $75 per year for a homeowner with a house worth $100,000, school district Treasurer Kent Zeman said. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the proposal in July.

The board is also considering consolidating the 2012 and 2014 renewal levies into one 10-year levy in 2012. In 2016, the renewal would be extended from five years to 10 years to create more financial flexibility.

The new middle school, which would be built on property the district owns on Long Road, would house up to 1,200 students in the sixth through eighth grades. If approved in November, it could be ready by September 2014.

Prekindergarten and kindergarten pupils at Village Elementary would then be moved to the current middle school at 3075 Stoney Ridge Road, which presently houses seventh- and eighth-graders. Heritage North and Heritage South schools would house the third through fifth grades.

The middle school has about 612 students but is projected to have 730 by 2014, members of a volunteer strategic planning committee told board members. The district, which has 3,987 students, is the third-fastest growing district in Ohio, according to Superintendent Jim Reitenbach. Overall, the district is projected to grow to 4,605 students by 2014.

“We’re going to grow, and we’re going to grow quick,” Mike Laub, a parent and committee member, told board members.

Given the comatose construction market — the Commerce Department on Tuesday reported new home sales plummeted 10.6 percent last month compared with March — committee members said it is prime time to put out construction bids.

“Construction costs are exceptionally low, (and) the need is there,” committee member Timothy Wagner said. “Let the voters decide if they want to go ahead with this new school and help alleviate these problems with the overcrowding.”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.