A Statement from the Board of Education on Facilities Master Planning
August, 18, 2016 – Following more than a year of public meetings and research into numerous options, the District has concentrated its long-term Facilities Master Plan to focus on a proposal to finance several necessary preventive maintenance projects, technology and security enhancements, as well as replacement of the current Shaker Middle School building (SMS).
After a significant amount of study, it was determined that replacing SMS is the most cost-effective way to address the substantial repair costs, reduce operating overhead, and correct design deficiencies that detract from educational outcomes. The structure has plumbing, windows, and a physical plant that date to the building’s construction in 1957. Repairs are estimated to cost nearly $31 million without addressing the design problems and with no opportunity for co-funding from the state. Replacing the structure, including the pool and auditorium, will cost an estimated $38 million, including $6 million in co-funding from the state of Ohio, which will position us to better serve our students for decades into the future.
In addition, the current structure was designed as a junior high school with wings for three grades. As you know, we operate it as a two-grade building which is much less than ideal. Staff has expressed challenges associated with splitting the same grade level teachers and students around the building. The building also lacks large spaces for maker lab courses, is not ADA compliant for those with physical challenges, and lacks the air conditioning that the building’s design called for to produce a comfortable learning environment.
Many details for the plan remain in process as we continue to work with the community and architect to consider site placement, design options, and funding approaches for portions of the facility. The SMS campus is our largest District campus and presents an opportunity to plan far into the future for both students and the entire community.
As of now, the Board plans to seek voter approval for a $55 million bond issue in May 2017. This equates to ~5.1 mills or $177 per $100,000 in assessed property value. Approximately half of those proceeds would fund major maintenance to care for all other District buildings and approximately half would fund the new middle school. As a point of reference, our last capital bond issue of $23.5 million was approved by voters in 2004. Over the last decade, these funds were utilized to maintain our school buildings. The planned bond issue will reduce pressure on operating funds and further extend the frequency of operating levies.
A schedule for public meetings and informational events will be forthcoming. School Board members and District staff welcome your input and invitations to speak to any community gathering to share details as they are known today.