By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar is looking forward to approval of a resolution in 2016 to start the process for a potential state renovation project at Canal Winchester High School.
At the Dec. 21 Canal Winchester Board of Education meeting, Sotlar presented a draft of a resolution asking the Ohio Facility Construction Commission to update the district’s facility plan and enrollment projections.
“The last time this was officially done was in 2008/2009,” Sotlar said. “The next part of the plan is to renovate the high school. This resolution does not commit us at any time. It just starts the process. That’s all it does.”
According to Sotlar, if the board approves the resolution in January, a formal commitment could be made as soon as mid-September of 2016. Sotlar said it gives the district several months to discuss the project and obtain information from the board and the community.
“If enrollment numbers stay true at the high school, we would have classes at or near 300 for the next 10 years,” said Sotlar. “The high school is at capacity. I know these numbers are not going to shift much. We’re going to have to do something. We’ve been talking about this process for the last couple of years. We seriously have to think about moving forward with this plan.”
Sotlar said the construction commission meets infrequently and if the resolution is not passed in January in order to be submitted to the commission’s first meeting of the year, the district would have to wait until fall to start the process.
“It just forces us farther out,” Sotlar said. “Every year costs go up, and the longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to do something like this. We can’t hold them off forever. Our name will go down toward the bottom of the list and right now, we’re toward the top of the list for OFCC money.”