The time has come to address the condition of the facilities in our school district. The age of our school buildings are as follows:
- Kingsville Elementary was built in 1928 (92 years old) and has had three renovations/additions; 1956, 1965 and 1975.
- Braden Middle School was built in 1928 (92 years old) and has had three renovations/additions; 1939, 1947 and 1990.
- Ridgeview Elementary was built in 1957 (63 years old) and has had no additional renovations.
- Edgewood High School was built in 1961 (59 years old) and has had one renovation/addition in 1972.
One of the leading factors to the district’s fiscal stability is the money that is allocated to the upkeep of the old facilities.
Our District has begun a facilities planning process which includes three phases; assessment, options and decisions. Decisions will be made once all of the options are determined and discussed amongst school personnel, the Board of Education (BOE), and community members.
Over the last year, we have gathered information and did assessments on the current condition of each building. We also surveyed existing school district property to ensure it meets our District’s needs. With the help of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, the determination is that costly repairs and replacements to failing systems and structures will continue to deplete District funds.
Our maintenance and custodial staffs have done a tremendous job over the years in making sure the facilities in our District are safe and as comfortable as possible. However, the need lies behind the walls and under the floors with the various infrastructure systems – electrical, HVAC and plumbing to name a few – that become costly to maintain as they age. Patching and repairing our buildings’ infrastructure is no longer cost-effective. Currently, our District is spending good money after bad to patch and make repairs. Some of our systems are so old, the needed parts are no longer being made.
In addition, our students are attending schools that were not built with today’s learning in mind. New classrooms with modern learning environments, which include updated science labs and greater access to technology will enhance the quality of education we can offer and will enable students to be better prepared for the world they will enter after high school.
Over the fall, the architectural firm TDA studied all four of our existing school sites to;
- Determine the best options for potential building configurations that support the Buckeye Schools program needs
- Determine if the existing schools can remain in session while new facilities are being constructed
- Determine most ideal locations for the new building on each site with the least amount of disturbance to site amenities (parking, playgrounds, etc.).
Our District and Community will continue to evaluate the options as we move forward. We have already given tours of each building and have held several community meetings to help assist in the decision-making process.
The goal is to continue the planning process and be ready to present a sound facilities project for the approval of the BOE in May/June, which would then be on the ballot in November 2020.
What Does the OFCC’s Involvement Mean?
Our School District became eligible to receive financial assistance from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for a facilities project. Last summer, our District had an OFCC assessment completed to determine the condition of our buildings.
There is an OFCC rule that states if renovation costs of a building meet or exceed two-thirds (66 percent) of the cost to build a new building, the OFCC recommends the building be replaced. The OFCC assessment from this past summer determined that all four of our District’s buildings exceed the two-thirds rule. The age of our facilities and the wear and tear they have endured dictates the need to replace them rather than continue to repair them.
This means our District is eligible to receive State Funding. Buckeye is eligible to receive more OFCC co-funding than ever before. Current Equity Rank is 200, which equals 67% co-funding from the State and 33% local share. With participation in the ELP Program with the OFCC, we can “lock in” that credit reimbursement percentage and have extensions to our borrowing capacity. Twelve years ago, our Equity Rank was 444, which equaled 27% co-funding from the State and 73% local share. The plan now eases the burden of the local taxpayers significantly. We are also receiving all of our assessments, enrollment projections, and the development of various Master Plans at no charge.
Our District is currently working with Community members to develop and finalize a facilities plan that will help shape the future of our schools. No decisions will be made without the involvement and input of our residents and our school personnel. If you would like to join us at our next meeting on February 12, 2020 at 6:00 PM in the Board Conference Room at Braden Middle School, please contact Cheryl Fisher, Cfisher@thendesign.com
or call the Superintendent’s Office at 440-998-4411 to reserve your seat.
This is an exciting time for Buckeye Local Schools. We are working diligently with our community, our school personnel, and the OFCC to come up with the best option for our District that will impact the lives our young people for generations to come. We hope to have your support. Please check our Superintendent’s Message on our website (www.buckeyeschools.info) for more developments in the coming months.