April 19, 2014

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North Ridgeville voters pass bond issue for new middle school

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — North Ridgeville voters decided Tuesday to remake the face of North Ridgeville Schools by approving a $58.1 million bond issue for a new middle school and football stadium.

Superintendent Jim Powell was still digesting the victory just after the final voters were counted.

“I’m having a hard time believing, but I’m very excited,” Powell said as campaign supporters could be heard celebrating in the background. “This is really good. It shows me the community trusts us and is ready to support us, and I’m so thankful for that.”

Voters approved the issue 4,311 to 3,839, or 53 percent to 47 percent, according to unofficial election results.

School officials and supporters thought it would take about 5,000 favorable votes to pass the issue, which will see construction of a new school to house third- through eighth-graders and ease crowding that currently has about 1,000 students in the 1923 school built for just under 800.

“We were under that, but it was still a pretty good turnout in a non-presidential year,” Powell said.

The outcome was a far cry from the 63-vote defeat of a bond issue in 2006 that proposed a centralized school district campus on Bainbridge Road with North RidgevilleHigh School converted into a middle school.

Powell and board members Robb Lyons and Kelly McCarthy agreed that the need for a new school was clear.

Powell and McCarthy said that those who voted against the issue likely did not do so because of any discontent over the plans, which include $8 million for a new 5,000-seat football stadium, or talk of tying the bond issue to future commercial development on the site of the current middle school near state Routes 20 and 83.

“People who voted no were predisposed to vote no,” Powell said. “They didn’t need a reason.”

Passage of the bond issue will now afford the board and administration “the opportunity to further scrutinize costs to look for ways to potentially lower costs” for the stadium, Lyons said.

The new middle school will produce a major reconfiguration of the district by easing not only crowding at the middle school level, but at Liberty and Wilcox elementary schools as well.

Each of the latter schools has enrollments of 200 to 250 more pupils than either was supposed to house.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission, which approved $8.9 million for a new school, deemed the district’s buildings severe enough to rank it first among 24 Ohio school systems that applied for state aid for new schools through the commission’s Exceptional Needs program.

The bond issue includes funds for the razing of the 1923 middle school as well as a small office building and gas station.

Clearing the 13-acre school site — which includes the stadium land — should make the location more appealing for developers, school and city officials argue.

The new school will be built on land already owned by the school district near the high school.

The 4.95-mill, 34-year bond issue will cost owners of homes valued at $100,000 an additional $174 a year in property taxes.

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

  • brewmaster

    Well I guess I can cancel my visit to the shrink, seeing that Jim Powell has me all figured out as to why I voted no on the bond issue. Actually Jim the only reason I voted no was because of the stadium. I don’t think people were tying the development of the middle school property to the bond issue, they were questioning the supposed interest of developers and valuation of the property. At least Robb Lyons has the foresight to suggest to look for ways to reduce the cost of the planned stadium. Why is our stadium going to cost $2.5 million more than Hudson spent on theirs which opened last year? Theirs was also privately funded.

    I sure hope the school board scrutinizes the plans for the new school and gets the most value for the dollars spent. Maybe a citizens committee should be formed with members familiar with education, athletics, and construction and development to assist the administration and board with areas that they may not be familiar with.

    Congrats to Marcie Saxon for a well deserved victory. The effort you put into the campaign is commendable and no doubt that will continue during your term. The three that were elected last night were clearly the best.

  • JustJenn142

    I am thrilled beyond belief that this passed. I am highly excited that my children will not be going to school with sewage running down their halls. I am highly excited that when it rains or snows, it won’t be coming through their windows. I am highly excited that as a tax payer I won’t be having to pay thousands of dollars each time to clean up this mess. I am highly excited that the teachers can focus on teaching and the kids can focus on learning. Thank you residents of North Ridgeville :) Congratulations to Marcie Saxon!

    • Scunnered

      New buildings solve educational problems? Harvard and Princeton with their 300 year old buildings – how do they cope? Oxford’s 1,000 year old buildings MUST COME DOWN! Cambridge and Edinburgh’s (where the Enlightenment occurred) too! I know they’re Universities and not high schools, but check most of the feeder schools, I’m sure they’ve got a bit of age to them as well.

      I am HIGHLY EXCITED that N.R. has all the answers. The world should be watching.

  • Weary

    Much to my surprise the school bond levy has passed in North Ridgeville. I am surprised because I cannot believe that so many people in the community can afford another large property tax increase! Last years huge increase and on its heels another. While I understand the safety needs for the teachers and students and the ultimate benefit to the community, when many of your constituents cannot afford it how it that good for all? People are still struggling with job losses and pay freezes (5 years), where are we going to come up with this money? I moved to this community three years ago and am regretting that decision. My personal feeling is that if you want something for your own benefit then you should pay for it yourself, not me. I will be happy to offer a base support but all the extras should be on you. It is a sad day for those still struggling in North Ridgeville.

  • ft353 .

    The arrogance in Mr. Powell’s statements is absolutely absurd. I have lived in North Ridgeville for over 45 years. I was educated in the NR City Schools. While I do not have any children, I have voted yes on every school levy……until this one. I was not “predisposed” to vote no, I just thought the scope and scale of the project was way too “keeping up with Avon”. Does this plan fulfill the educational needs of children? In some ways yes, but in many ways no. The monies involved (174K/per 100K of property appraised value) and the duration (34 years) is staggering. So if you own a 200K home, you are going to pay $348 a year for the shiny new buildings. Just the buildings. None of this money can be used for books, salaries, learning materials, operating expenses or any of the like. The potential for the NRCS to become “house poor” is blatantly staring the NRCS in the face. Mr. Powell’s administration is fond of stating how overcrowded and antiquated some of the current facilities are. There is no doubt some of their facilities need replacing. But a prudent homebuyer has to balance wants and needs when selecting a home to be sure they can truly afford it. Mr. Powell’s solution will no doubt be to seek additional funds to support the operation of these facilities.

    • Dynadobe

      I totally agree with you. We have a horrible economy. We have a lot of people that lost their jobs and haven’t been able to get one, or get one that pays the bills. Small business are struggling. I have been out of work for four years now – because I was over 55 I was let go and for the same reason can’t get rehired. Not being resentful, it is just the truth based on the population of workers that were let go and are not being rehired. Employers just doesn’t want us even if we are negotiable. We are on a fixed income as are many others, trying to get to retirement age. We are being literally taxed out of our homes. This is going to be a huge tax increase for us. We have been in North Ridgeville since 1976, but are looking elsewhere now. The stadium is a RIDICULOUS expense when we hear teachers crying about needing books and other real tools for the children to be educated. But it is more important to show off high-priced snobby schools and a stadium than to help the citizens of this city. So done! The burden should be on those that are working and have children in the schools. It is devastating to seniors on fixed incomes. I am sure that teachers will soon be asking for increases.

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