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North Ridgeville voters to get bond issue for new schools

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE — North Ridgeville voters can expect to see a bond issue on the November ballot for new schools.

On Tuesday, the North Ridgeville Schools Board of Education approved putting the issue to voters come election season.

The bond issue would help fund several new buildings, including an elementary school, high school and performing arts center.

The master plan that was presented by a Facilities Planning Commission on June 4 at a board meeting also was approved, although it is still subject to changes, including cost and design.

Board President Kelly McCarthy said the school board is feeling hopeful about the bond issue’s chances of passing.

“We’re at a critical need right now for our district and our students,” McCarthy said. “The buildings are showing their age, especially the high school, and they’re showing the restraint we have with the amount of kids we have. The time was critical to pass it now, so that we could put it on the ballot.”

McCarthy said school officials want as much input as possible about the master plan from community members, students, parents and teachers.

The master plan would include a new kindergarten-through-third-grade building, replacing Liberty Elementary School, a new high school that would include a performing arts center and a new maintenance and transportation facility.

The total cost of the plan would be $132.4 million, which includes a 10 percent increase for market changes.

The bond is capped at $132.9 million, under the proposed master plan’s cost.

The bond cap is based on the value of the community with growth factored in. Under the Ohio’s Expedited Local Partnership Program, the state would pay 24 percent of the total cost of the project.

Liberty Elementary’s replacement building would cost about $47 million; a new high school would cost an estimated $82 million and demolitions would cost about $2.9 million.

The performing arts center, which would be able to seat 1,000 people, would cost $7.5 million. No cost is currently planned out for the transportation building, because it would fall under certificate of participation funding, a tax-exempt lease funding agreement.

Also under the proposed plan, the North Ranger Academic Center would become a fourth-through-eighth-grade building. Ranger High Tech Academy students would be integrated throughout the three school buildings.

The Early Childhood Learning Center only would be a Pre-K building.

In January 2018, the Facilities Planning Commission began meeting. It included Mayor David Gillock, City Council President Kevin Corcoran and Safety Services Director Jeff Armbruster.

Two parents were included on the commission as well as several teachers, guidance counselors and principals. The superintendent, associate superintendent, treasurer and two board members were on the commission.

In May, they explored three master plan options and ultimately chose to present their third option, which was the least expensive one.

Matt Yunker, director of operations at the school, told the board at the June 4 meeting that they looked at the state of the buildings and reviewed enrollment as they came to a decision. Yunker said the buildings are out of date, and some have capacity issues.

North Ridgeville Schools is the third-fastest growing district in the state and is on track to grow three to four percent each year.

At the board’s May 22 meeting, Superintendent Roxann Ramsey-Caserio said the state told the school they reached the two-thirds threshold, where it will cost too much to renovate the buildings, and it’s better to rebuild.

Contact Laina Yost at (440) 329-7121 or lyost@chroniclet.com.


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