Groveport Madison Schools’ facility plan; plus State of the Schools celebration

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison High School Divisi A capella Choir performed during the district’s State of the Schools celebration on March 14 at Groveport Madison High School. The event also featured other student performances, the District Art Show, school displays, food from the Eastland-Fairfield Culinary Arts program, and an address by Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Jamie Grube.

The Groveport Madison Board of Education continues to work with SHP Architects for facility planning regarding the potential renovation, expansion, or replacement of the district’s existing elementary and middle schools, plus a potential addition to the high school.

The Master Facility Plan is a guide to the growth and development of school facilities – such as potential new buildings and building restructuring based on growth of the community and possible passage of a bond issue.

Speaking at the district’s State of the Schools Celebration on March 14, Groveport Madison Superintendent Jamie Grube said regarding the Master Facility Plan, “We want an environment that is safe, welcoming, and conducive to student success. We’re shaping the future of the community one student at a time.”

SHP representative Josh Predovich spoke at the board’s March 13 meeting and said the district is in line to potentially receive Ohio Facilities Construction Commission funding for 53 percent of the cost of a project with local funding providing 47 percent.

Earlier this year SHP representatives said the district could consider placing a bond issue on the November 2024 ballot or May 2025 ballot. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission considers schools for the next round of state funding in July.

Groveport Madison officials have stated overcrowding is a 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.

Enrollment and capacity
School enrollment in Ohio from 2013 to 2023 is down six percent and is expected to decrease another three percent in the next 10 years, according to SHP. In Franklin County enrollment is down one percent.

However, enrollment in Groveport Madison is expected to increase by 626 students in the next 10 years, which is about 9 percent. This increase includes a projected 72 more students in grades PK-5; 153 in grades 6-8; and 401 in grades 9-12 (including 139 in career tech).

According to SHP and information from a school capacity study by Cropper GIS Consulting, the current enrollment and capacity configurations for the district’s schools are (modular classrooms where indicated):

•Asbury Elementary (includes four modulars): enrollment, 506; capacity, 481.

•Dunloe Elementary (includes four modulars): enrollment, 499; capacity, 540.

•Glendening Elementary: enrollment, 492; capacity, 480.

•Groveport Elementary (includes four modulars): enrollment, 475; capacity, 504.

•Madison Elementary: enrollment 362; capacity, 359;

•Sedalia Elementary (includes 12 modulars): enrollment, 606; capacity, 656.

•Middle School Central: enrollment, 477; capacity, 463;

•Middle School North: enrollment, 479; capacity, 583.

•Middle School South: enrollment, 463; capacity 485.

•High School: enrollment, 2,009; capacity, 1,440.

Predovich noted the high school enrollment has been over capacity “since day one.”
According to district officials, the original design capacity for the new high school was based on the Ohio School Facilities Construction Commission’s Facilities Master Plan (which included OSFCC enrollment projections). When the OSFCC shared its enrollment projections, the board and the district’s administration at the time disagreed with the OSFCC, believing the commission’s enrollment projections to be substantially low at the high school.

“Despite the district’s objections, the high school was constructed for about 1,500 students,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent James Grube in a past interview. “Knowing there were already 1,900 plus high school schools enrolled before its opening, the district spent a portion of its local share of the project’s budget on upgrading the foundation and HVAC components of the building to accommodate a future addition to the school.”

District officials said there was almost $5 million in funds left over from the high school construction project. Of this amount $2.4 million was the district’s local share and $2.6 million was the state’s share. The district believed it should have had those state funds, but the OFCC considered the project closed and rejected releasing the remaining state funds to the school district.

Master Facility Plan options
According to Predovich, district officials can consider the following Master Facility Plan options:

•Renovations or additions on existing elementary and middle schools plus an addition to the high school.

•Constructing all new elementaries and middle schools plus an addition to the high school.

•Combination of new construction and renovations and additions to the existing elementary and middle schools plus an addition to the high school.

Predovich said, according to the OFCC, if renovation costs exceed two-thirds the cost of replacing a building, the state recommends replacing the building. The district would have to meet state requirements to get a waiver to make renovations for buildings above this limit.

According to 2023 OFCC figures, all of the district’s elementaries and middle schools exceed this two-thirds limit with Asbury at 89 percent; Dunloe at 91 percent; Glendening at 83 percent; Groveport at 99 percent; Madison at 88 percent; Sedalia at 67 percent; Middle School North at 78 percent; Middle School South at 77 percent; and Middle School Central at 79 percent.

Next steps to be considered
According to Predovich, the next steps to be considered include: reviewing all district owned sites and identifying buildings that can support additions and sites that can support new construction that would not disrupt ongoing school operations; transportation impact; staffing impact; and operational impact.

According to SHP, if the board wants to place a bond issue on the November 2024 ballot, a Master Facility Plan must be presented to the board by April, the plan must go to the OFCC by May, and the board must approve a project agreement by June.

Then, to place a bond issue on the November ballot, the board must file with the county auditor in July and with the Franklin County Board of Elections in August. If the board wishes to wait to place a bond issue on the May 2025 ballot, then the ballot filings would be made in January and February of 2025.

Finances
At the district’s State of the Schools Celebration on March 14, Groveport Madison Schools Treasurer Adam Collier said 44 percent of the district’s general fund revenue comes from property taxes and 36 percent comes from state funding.

Regarding expenditures, he said 44 percent of the district’s spending goes to salaries, 20 percent to retirement and insurance, and 17 percent to purchased services.

“These expenses are normal for schools because we are a service industry,” said Collier.
Collier added that Groveport Madison’s millage tax rate is “the second lowest in Franklin County.”

He said the operating levy that passed last November is only the second such levy passed in the district that generated new money since 1992.

“We will continue to spend wisely and effectively to guarantee the best education possible,” said Collier. “But we need a bond issue next year for new buildings.”

Existing school buildings
These are the current Groveport Madison school district school buildings:

•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974.

•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923 with an addition in the 1930s. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

•Madison Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974.

•Middle School North – Built in 1975.

•Middle School South – Built in 1975.

•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

•High School, built in 2018.

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