By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education approved contracting with SHP Architects for facility planning regarding the potential renovation, expansion, or replacement of the district’s existing elementary and middle schools.
According to the contract, SHP Architects will: review and update assessments of existing schools in the district; assist with the analysis of enrollment projections; facilitate advisory team meetings; research existing site information on properties owned by the district as well as potential new building sites; facilitate the development of the district’s Master Facilities Plan and locally funded facility plan options; and engage with the community to share facility and site conditions, needs and opportunities; participate in formulating an educational vision to identify where the district wants to be relative to trends in education; how the district might respond to the Ohio Department of Education’s Strategic Plan for Learning; identify how new or renovated learning spaces can support the district; and identify Master Facilities Plan preferences all at a cost of $77,000.
The board already approved contracting with Cropper GIS for a demographic and capacity/utilization study of the district at a cost of $35,500. That work is now underway.
The board also voted to not accept funding this year from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
“This will allow us to have time for proper facility planning and community engagement,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Garilee Ogden.
The reason for postponing acceptance of OFCC money is that, if the district accepted the funding now, it would need to have its Master Facilities Plan completed by mid-May, which does not give the district sufficient time to complete its planning, research, and community engagement. Ogden previously noted such a short amount of time does not allow time to figure out building attendance boundary realignment and prepare a campaign for three potential election cycles to try and pass a bond issue. She added Groveport Madison is at the top of the OFCC’s list for segmented projects “so it is likely that they will come to us next January again with funding even if we say ‘no’ right now.”
Now that the SHP Architects contract is approved, facility analysis, community engagement, and educational visioning begins. After that, discussions about facilities planning, what the new schools could look like, where buildings would be, what the community wants, building grade configurations, and building attendance boundaries can take place as well as informing the community about the Master Facilities Plan. (The building attendance boundaries do not refer to the entire district’s actual boundary. It refers to the attendance boundaries within the district for each individual school building regarding which school building students attend based on where they reside.)
District officials indicated a completed Master Facilities Plan and a board resolution for the OFCC would be needed by April 2023 in order to receive funding approval from the OFCC.
A bond issue for new buildings could appear on the November 2023, May 2024, or August 2024 ballot.
Ogden noted the bond issue must pass by August 2024 or else the district would have to reapply for OFCC funding.
She also said the district’s five year renewal general operating levy is tentatively scheduled for the November 2024 ballot as that is latest date it can be approved for the district to start collecting money in 2025.
Buildings’ capacity and enrollments
As of October 2021, the district had 6,271 students. In comparison, enrollment was 5,569 in 2015-16.
District officials said overcrowding is the central issue facing the district, but other factors to be considered in the facilities planning process include the age, condition, efficiency, adaptability, and cost to maintain the existing elementary and middle schools.
To deal with student overcrowding, the district has 24 modular classrooms in use, including a single quad-classroom unit at Groveport Elementary, two double-classroom units at Asbury Elementary and Dunloe Elementary, and six double-classroom units at Sedalia Elementary.
Here are the capacity and enrollments (as of December 2021) for Groveport Madison’s elementary and middle schools (a new 240,000 square foot, 1,500 student high school opened in 2018):
•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 476. Functional capacity, 425.
•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425.
•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 455. Functional capacity, 425.
•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923. Enrollment, 417. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
•Madison Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 354. Functional capacity, 425.
•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 562. Functional capacity, 446.
•Middle School North – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 495. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School South – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 466. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
Since December, Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner said now every building in the district, except for Madison Elementary, is over capacity.
(Functional capacity is 85 percent of original design capacity and reflects modern requirements for classroom space and programming. Source: Groveport Madison Schools.)