WELLINGTON — A nonprofit organization has raised nearly two-thirds of the matching money it needs to build a new $2.5 million auditorium adjacent to the new junior high school that will open in 2015.
It will be a race to the finish to raise the remaining $426,000 by Jan. 30, the deadline needed to go ahead with the project.
An anonymous donor has pledged $1.25 million of the costs, which is truly heart-warming, said Wellington Schools Superintendent John Nolan.
“This party wants to give back to the community that’s been very good to them,” Nolan said.
If enough money is raised and the project proceeds, Wellington Mayor Barb O’Keefe said she thinks naming rights should go to the donor, who wants to remain anonymous at this time.
The effort by the Friends of the Wellington Community Auditorium is needed because the Ohio School Facilities Commission will not pay for an auditorium to replace the auditorium in McCormick Middle School, which is scheduled to be torn down.
There is no auditorium at Wellington High School, and high school plays and other events often are held in the auditorium at McCormick.
The new junior high, serving fourth through eighth grades, is scheduled to open in fall 2015.
Last year, voters passed a 2.97-mill bond issue and a 0.5-mill continuing levy for upkeep of the new school.
McCormick, which was ranked the worst school building in Ohio by the facilities commission, will be demolished after the new junior high opens.
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 pays $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.
Wellington Schools spokeswoman Samantha Stump said plans are still being finalized for the $16.8 million junior high, including the location on the Wellington High School campus.
Stump said a preliminary drawing was prepared by the architect to show what the auditorium might look like. The friends group sent the rendering to everyone with a 44090 address, said Stump, who also serves as spokeswoman for the Friends group.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Checks can be mailed to The Friends of the Wellington Community Auditorium, P.O. Box 123, Wellington, OH 44090.
Donations are also being accepted through the Lorain County Community Foundation at www.peoplewhocare.org