October 21, 2014

Elyria
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Wellington OKs money to fix worst school building in state

WELLINGTON — Voters Tuesday decided that McCormick Middle School, which was declared the No. 1 worst school building in Ohio by the Ohio School Facilities Commission, should be replaced.

A 36-year bond issue, Issue 48, passed 2,271 to 1,573, or 59 percent to 41 percent, according to unofficial returns.

Wellington Schools Superintendent John Nolan said the district will now work with the state to choose an architect for the new middle school, which will be built near the high school. The goal is to open the new middle school in the 2015-16 school year, he said.

“It’s been 40-plus years since anyone built a new school in Wellington,” Nolan said. “It’s exciting.”

He said a big segment of the community took part in the effort to pass a 2.97-mill bond issue and a 0.5-mill continuing levy for upkeep of the new school.

It was time to replace McCormick, said Mayor Barb O’Keefe, who graduated in 1957 from the school when it served first through 12th grades.

“I think Wellington did itself proud,” she said of Tuesday’s vote to replace the school.

“My memories of school are about my classmates and teachers,” O’Keefe said. “I didn’t give the building much of a thought.”

The oldest part of the school was built in 1867, and the building has had several additions, making it a hodge-podge of different levels.

The bond issue will raise $11.6 million for the district’s 64 percent share of the project. The state will pay 36 percent. A 0.5-mill continuing levy will raise $96,909 a year.

The owner of a $100,000 home will pay $90.83 for the bond issue and $15.31 for the maintenance levy, for a total of $106.14 a year.

Wellington Schools tried and failed three other times to win voter support for larger construction projects, including a K-12 building that came within about 30 votes of passing.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.