A $132 million master plan to raze and rebuild three school buildings and the district’s bus garage will go before North Ridgeville voters Nov. 5.
The school board unanimously voted to put a $132.4 million bond issue on the ballot at its meeting June 18. If passed, this would be the first major district construction job since 2013 when it passed a $58 million bond issue to build the academic center and athletic complex.
The plan calls for razing the high school, Liberty School, Ranger High-Tech Academy and the transportation and maintenance garage. Other parts of the plan include converting the Early Childhood Learning Center into a pre-K facility.
Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio said that new buildings would be more cost effective than upgrading current buildings. She believes the community also understands the need.
“People are very educated and understand the need for the community and how it impacts the community in terms of property values and the future of North Ridgeville as a whole,” Ramsey-Caserio said. “They’re very educated.”
Board president Kelly McCarthy is similarly hopeful. She said there is a “critical need” for the district and students. So far, public response has been positive.
“Our buildings are showing their age, especially the high school, and they’re showing the restraint that we have with the amount of kids that we have,” she said. “The time was critical to pass it now so that we could get it on the ballot and have the voters decide if they want to invest in the future of our students once again.”
The plan is being driven by two separate studies that project the district’s enrollment will increase by 5,100 to 6,000 students in the next 10 years. The district’s current enrollment is approximately 4,600 students.
The district would build a new k-3 building on the Liberty School site. The North Ridgeville Academic Center would serve grades four through eight. The new high school would be built on the site of the old building and a new transportation and maintenance facility would be built at the Ranger High-Tech Academy site.
Students from Ranger Academy will attend classes at the new k-3 building, the Academic Center and the new high school. They will not be integrated into the general student body and will continue the same style of STEM learning.
The cost of the new k-3 facility will be $47 million, while the new high school will cost $82.4 million. The new transportation facility’s $4.4 million cost would be covered under the certificate of participation funding, so no money was budgeted for it in the master plan.
The district would split the approximately $23.1 million reimbursed by the state through Ohio’s Expedited Local Partnership Program across three projects. A 1,000 performing arts center would cost $7.5 million and additions to the K-3 building and new high school would cost $7.8 million each.
The bond cost includes a 10% escalation due to market conditions. North Ridgeville’s bond cap is $132.9 million. The state would pay for 24% of the total costs under the ELPP.
The total cost of the demolitions will be $2.9 million according to the master plan.
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