December 20, 2014

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North Ridgeville voters to decide bond issue

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The Board of Education will meet in special session early Monday to approve putting a $58.1 million bond issue on the November ballot for a new school that would accomodate grades three to eight.

The board will meet 7 a.m. Monday, according to Treasurer Biagio Sidoti, to take action on the issue, which is expected to be for 4.95 mills and run for 34 years.

The meeting will come one day before Tuesday’s deadline to notify the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Taxation of the district’s intent to place a bond issue before voters this fall.

The school board was unable to schedule a meeting sooner than Monday because officials are waiting for certification of the bond issue’s millage from the county auditor, Sidoti said Wednesday.

“We can’t take action until the auditor certifies the amount required for the bond issue, and we expect that to happen Thursday or Friday,” Sidoti said.

The school board has until Aug. 7 to meet the county Board of Elections deadline for November ballot issues.

Action to authorize the bond issue comes after word earlier this month that the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission had approved $8.9 million in state funds for a new school.

The state funds were seen as a key component in the project, and represent 17 percent of total cost.

The money comes from the commission’s Exceptional Needs Program, which seeks to put school systems on a fast track that want to replace aging buildings considered to be in the worst condition.

The district now has a year to get voter approval of a bond issue. If voters don’t approve it, the state money will go to another district.

School board members and administrators initially had discussed upgrades for the project that could include a 1,000-seat performing arts center at a projected cost of $6 million, and a new 5,000-seat football stadium costing an estimated $8 million.

The board opted to pursue funding for the new stadium, which would be built on school-owned land near North Ridgeville High School, where the new school is to be constructed.

The new school would replace the current middle school, which houses grades six to eight and was built in 1923. The new building is designed to ease crowding at Liberty and Wilcox elementary schools.

The bond issue request also includes $1.5 million for expansion of the new school’s gymnasium to accommodate 1,500 people and add locker rooms and restrooms.

Sidoti stressed that all cost figures are estimates that could increase or decrease as plans for the new school are adjusted in coming months.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.