Groveport council worried about old school

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 Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
 Groveport Elementary School was built in 1923 to house all 12 grades and did so until the 1950s when it became an elementary school.

Members of Groveport Village Council are unhappy about two Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) bond issue proposals that suggest the Groveport Madison School District demolish Groveport Elementary School in order to build a new school.

"I’d hate to see Groveport Elementary torn down," said Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert at council’s July 14 meeting. "A lot of community members have put time and money into restoration work in the building, particularly the auditorium."

"There’s a lot of pride in that school," added Councilman Shawn Cleary.

Councilman Ed Rarey noted the school district restored Groveport Elementary’s gym floor and the Groveport Heritage and Preservation Society (GHPS) refurbished the fountain in the courtyard. He said the GHPS is working to have the school placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Rarey added that other improvements have been made to the 85-year-old historic school building on Main Street over the past few years, some of them funded with village dollars.

Council instructed village administration officials to send a letter to Groveport Madison Local Schools indicating that, in the school district’s process of considering its building options, that the district contact the village about any interest in acquiring the building before the district would raze Groveport Elementary.

What is being considered

The Groveport Madison school board has not made any decision yet on whether or not to pursue either a operating levy or a bond issue.

The board is considering placing a five year, 8 mill operating levy on the Nov. 4 ballot and then putting a 6 mill bond issue before the voters in 2009.

To place a levy on the Nov. 4 ballot, the board must approve a resolution of necessity and forward it to the county auditor by Aug. 15. The deadline for filing to place the levy on the ballot is Aug. 21. The board will discuss the levy further at future meetings. The board’s bond issue options are still in discussion

Monies from the proposed 6 mill bond issue would be used for new buildings, site preparations, equipping buildings, infrastructure, and renovations.

Earlier this summer, Eugene Chipiga, OSFC  senior planning manager, presented drafts of two master plan building options for the district, as well as an assessment of the district’s 10 school buildings.

"If the cost to renovate a building is greater than two thirds (66 percent) of the cost to replace it, then it is recommended the building be demolished and a new school be built," said Chipiga. "It’s more expensive to renovate than to rebuild."

Another alternative to demolition is repurposing a school, such as what Canal Winchester did in converting its historic school on Washington Street into the Canal Winchester school district’s administrative offices.

The OSFC presented two proposals to Groveport Madison:

•a $134 million plan that would demolish Dunloe, Glendening, Groveport, and Madison elementaries and also the junior high; renovate and add to Asbury; renovate Sedalia; renovate and add to Middle School North and Middle School South; renovate and add to the high school so it could house 1,823 students; and build two new elementary schools that each could house around 985 students.

•a $140 million plan that would demolish Dunloe, Glendening, Groveport, and Madison elementaries as well as the junior high; renovate and add to Asbury; renovate Sedalia; renovate and add to Middle School North and Middle School South; renovate and add to the high school to house 837 students; build an additional new high school that would house 986 students; and build four new elementaries that would house around 492 students each.

Speaking at the Groveport Madison school board’s July 9 meeting, board member Duane Dailey stated he believes demolishing existing school buildings "is not realistic."

Income tax revenue sharing

The village presented an income tax revenue sharing check for $521,722 for the Groveport Madison school district to Groveport Madison Board President Dr. Naomi Sealey and Treasurer Anthony Swartz.

"It’s an honor to have Dr. Sealey and Mr. Swartz here tonight to receive this check," said Mayor Lance Westcamp.

The check represents income tax revenue received during the first half of 2007.

Since 1999, the village has presented income tax revenue sharing checks totaling more than $4.5 million to the school district. The village delivers the income tax revenue sharing checks twice a year to Groveport Madison.

 

According to village officials, the payment is made to the school district as a result of the Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) tax exemptions that are granted by the village. In a municipality with an income tax, any project in a CRA which will generate a new annual payroll of $1 million or more, the income tax revenues generated by the new employees is split 50/50 between the municipality and the board of education.

Groveport Madison places the income tax revenue sharing funds in the school district’s permanent improvement fund to be used for capital projects.

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