$81 Million Bond Issue is Phase 1: Would Build New Middle School, Renovate High School
First step would aim at district's secondary schools
Voters should expect to see an $81 million bond issue on the November ballot that would pay to build a new middle school and make vast renovations to Strongsville High School, plus some safety-related repairs to elementary schools.
Major fix-ups at elementary buildings would come in Phase 2 -- a plan that tentatively calls for constructing three new grade schools, renovating Muraski and Kinsner, and demolishing the rest.
The two-tiered approach was presented Thursday night by the Strongsville Schools' Facilities Committee.
"This (phase 1) would address the critical needs . . . at the high school and middle school," committee member Ken Evans said.
Elementary students would be "warm, safe and dry" for now, the plan says, until Phase 2, which would seek another bond issue for an estmated $64 million to tackle lower-school issues.
The committee was charged with looking into a proposal by School Board member Carl Naso and Ward 3 City Councilman Jim Carbone to build a new middle school to replace Albion and the deteriorating Center.
On Thursday night, school board members heartily endorsed the plan.
"To me, Phase 1 is a no-brainer," board member Jennifer Sinisgalli said.
The plan identifies $145 million in improvements the district's facilities need and breaks them into two chunks.
• Build a new middle school for 6th, 7th and 8th grades, including an auditorium and athletic fields (site undetermined).
• Major high school renovations, including improvements to utilities and the auditorium, and install modern technology.
• Finish the preschool building on Lunn Road.
• Demolish Allen, Albion and Center schools.
• Asbestos abatement where needed.
• Limited emergency repairs and improvements to safety systems and technology at elementary schools.
• Build new elementary schools in Wards 1, 2 and 3.
• Renovate Kinsner Elementary.
• Replace classromm section at Muraski Elementary.
• Demolish all other elementary buildings, leaving the district with five instead of seven.
Phase 2 is tentative and subject to further analysis, the committee said.
The $81 million, 35-year bond issue would cost homeowners $95 a year for every $100,000 in home valuation.
But because other bond issues that currently cost $77 a year per $100,000 in home valuation are expiring, residents would see their taxes rise only $18 a year per $100,000.
For the average homeowner, the cost would be about $2 a month.
School officials said they are excited about the plan.
"I have one request," said Superintendent Jeff Lampert, who is retiring at the end of July. "Invite me to the ribbon-cutting."