District spokeswoman Pam Gayheart said the state’s potential share of $ 33 million convinced many to vote for local taxes to pay for the project.
The teams work at the new West Carrollton Early Childhood Center at 510 E. Pease Ave. JIM NOELKER / STAFF
âWith the state giving that percentage, I think it was the boost our community needed after seeing the condition of our buildings,â Gayheart said. “(People said) we’re crazy not to take advantage of it.”
State, local history
The Ohio Facilities Building Commission, which funds a portion of the costs of most local projects, said the increase in school construction in the Dayton area was not part of a trend to statewide. OFCC spokesperson JC Benton said there are currently 28 OFCC projects in the design phase and 52 under active construction. These numbers are down from 37 and 68, respectively, in fiscal 2019.
State funding for school construction projects was much higher from 2007 to 2011 (nearly $ 1 billion per year) when tobacco settlement money was available, according to the OFCC. Since 2013, this funding has ranged between $ 250 million and $ 400 million per year.
To exploreRetrospective: Miamisburg opened schools 10 years ago
The Dayton area saw an increase in new school construction from 2003 to 2013 – Dayton opened two dozen new schools and Mad River opened seven; Trotwood, Brookville, New Lebanon and Bellbrook opened new schools from 2004 to 2006; Miamisburg opened three schools from 2008 to 2011; and Xenia and Beavercreek opened seven new combined schools in 2012-2013.
Construction hasn’t stopped since, but it has slowed down locally. Among larger projects, Northmont opened its new high school in 2016, Northridge and Carlisle opened completely redesigned K-12 campuses in 2019 and 2020, and Kettering opened a self-funded career tech addition in 2020.
Construction in progress
** Fairborn: Thanks to voters who approved a bond levy in 2016, the district has already completed a new elementary school that opened in 2020, and they are halfway through construction of the middle school slated for fall 2022, the State contributing nearly half of the $ 51 million for these two buildings.
A separate bond levy that voters approved in 2020 will pay for a $ 70 million high school, arts center and sports complex. Preparatory work on this site began in June and district officials are aiming for an opening in January 2024, barring supply chain issues.
Once the high school opens, students at Baker Middle School will move into the current high school and the district will use $ 33 million of OFCC funds to build a new middle school next to the new high school, although this timeline is uncertain.
To exploreFranklin, Fairborn, Xenia pleaded their case to voters
** Franklin: The school district opened its new high school two weeks ago, after voters approved a major bond issue in November. Local bond funds will finance the high school (target opening, fall 2023) and will renovate the existing high school into a college. A few years later, the state’s share of $ 25.3 million will be used to replace five elementary schools and one early childhood center in Franklin with three new elementary schools.
Superintendent Mike Sander said asbestos removal of the existing high school would begin in October and demolition of the century-old building would take place in November and December.
âThe junior high school students are housed in modular classrooms behind Franklin High School, and will be there this year and next school year,â Sanders said. “But these modular classrooms aren’t like the portable classrooms schools used to have.”
** Miami Valley CTC: According to Superintendent Nick Weldy, the Regional Career Technology Center renovation and expansion project – funded by a voter bond issue in 2017 plus $ 28 million in public funds – is nearing completion. Two wings have already been completed and the student capacity will increase.
The workers can be seen on the new West Carrollton Middle School, which will accommodate grades 5-6 students starting in the fall of 2022. The new school is located at 4100 S. Dixie Drive in Moraine. JIM NOELKER / STAFF
** Carrollton West: Just off the busy Central Avenue, construction continues on the new West Carrollton Early Years Center, which will house Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Grade 1. On Dixie Drive, the new West Carrollton Middle School is under construction on the existing CF Holliday site. It will house grades 5-6. Walls are being erected on both buildings, which are scheduled to open in the fall of 2022.
Projects that are coming to an end
** Greenon: The district just northeast of Fairborn opened its brand new $ 50 million K-12 campus on September 7. Superintendent Darrin Knapke touted the courtyard amphitheater spaces where lessons can be held outdoors, the movable classroom walls to allow for co-teaching and the technological benefits, including SMART Boards and Labs of 75 inches. The complex also has air conditioning, which was lacking in the old schools.
** Oak wood: District is in the final stages of the “hit list” for its $ 18 million Phase 1 multi-school renovation project, which district officials say has a final completion date of November 30. and falls within 1% of the budget.
While the replacement of the boiler and the bathroom works were carried out in the primary schools, the major part of the project was carried out in the high school / college complex. These buildings have seen roof and ceiling replacements, new HVAC systems, new wiring and LED lighting, rebuilding bathrooms and asbestos removal, funded by a voter-approved bond issue in 2019.
** Waynesville: Wayne Local Schools is celebrating the opening of their new elementary school this fall. Superintendent Pat Dubbs said the list of improvements is huge, from air conditioning to better security, bigger classrooms, and better electrical and wireless capacity to support educational technology. He called the design of the new media center âspectacularâ.
âWhen you talk about being in a building that parts of it were built in 1915 and the 1930sâ¦ that stuff is just a huge step forward for our kids,â Dubbs said. âWe talked about how this new school would make a difference in our children’s learning every day.
The neighborhood has already taken the next step: building a student center focused on the fine arts. Dubbs said it would include a multi-purpose auditorium with movable seating for 425 people, as well as an all-glass lobby that can accommodate events for more than 100 people. It connects to one of the wings of the old primary school which has been preserved.
Construction to come
** Bethel: The grand opening is slated for Oct. 28 for the new $ 28.5 million Miami County District K-5 school and sports complex, which will go to the north side of the existing school complex with an opening. target in fall 2023. The fast-growing district just built a new high school wing in 2017.
Superintendent Justin Firks said Bethel was using its own funds and additional tax funding to pay for costs up front. He said the district would get credit from OFCC and “the state will pay 78% of the total cost of the project once our number is called in 6-8 years for the next phase.”
** Huber heights: The school board is expected to vote Oct. 2 on a $ 7 million expansion, both for new high school career tech space and for âcreative spacesâ in elementary schools. Spokeswoman Cassie Dietrich said the idea came from the district’s strategic planning process, which focused on “real-world learning, returning to the skilled trades and preparing for careers.”
To exploreValley View Goes Forward with K-12 Campus Plan
** Valley view: The district plans to inaugurate a $ 68 million K-12 campus in spring 2022, adjacent to the existing high school, with hopes of a grand opening in fall 2024. Residents have rejected requests in 2016 and 2017, but said yes in spring 2020 to a plan that will receive $ 39 million from the OFCC. Two of the existing schools in Valley View are approximately 100 years old.
** Xenia: In May, voters approved a $ 36.2 million bond issue to pay for the replacement of the 1960s Warner Middle School. District plans call for a design team of trustees, d ‘teachers and community members to work with architects to determine the appearance of the facility, which will be immediately adjacent to the current Warner, which will be demolished.
Soon on the ballot
** Yellow sources: District calls on voters to approve November ballot that combines 0.5% income tax with $ 6.5 million property tax to fund $ 35.6 million kindergarten school campus in grade 12 on the existing high school / college site. OFCC would reimburse $ 9.3 million.
Coming Monday and Tuesday
Miami Valley Career Technology Center and West Carrollton Schools are embarking on giant construction projects.