By Rick Palsgrove
The Groveport Madison Board of Education has selected a research firm to help them gather information regarding a potential future bond issue to fund the construction of new schools buildings in the district.
On Sept. 27, the board agreed to contract with Hanover Research at cost of $39,500 for the next year. The company will provide the district with analytical information regarding community feedback, potential building configurations, demographics, district needs, costs, an implementation plan, and comparisons with similar school districts. It will also conduct focus group meetings in the community in the coming months.
The board chose the larger Hanover Research, with its staff of 200, over Thoughtwell, a smaller local company with a 12 person staff who bid $29,500 to do the research work.
Some board members liked the local aspects of Thoughtwell, but in the end the board unanimously picked Hanover Research.
“Hanover provides more flexibility and a bigger pool of researchers,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Bruce Hoover.
The board is considering placing a bond issue on either the November 2018 or spring 2019 ballot to fund the construction of new school buildings in the district.
The board hopes to have a detailed report from Hanover Research by early 2018 so it can make decisions on how and when to proceed with a bond issue.
Currently the district has a high school, three middle schools, and six elementaries. The high school will be demolished in the summer of 2018 and the new high school will open in the fall of 2018.
The board previously discussed possibly moving away from the elementary and middle school concept and instead building three 180,000 square foot schools, each situated on 24 to 34 acres of land, that would each house 1,400 to 1,600 students in grades K-8. If pursued, this plan would reduce the number of schools in the district from 10 to four.
When asked when the board will specifically begin discussions on which building configuration option to pursue, Board President Bryan Shoemaker said, “It is too early to tell. As soon as our research firm has done their scope, we, as a team, will begin to have our discussions on how we will be moving forward.”
Regarding what other new building options could be considered besides the possible idea of the four K-8 buildings, Shoemaker said, “At this point, any and all options are on the table, we will narrow down our options as they come available.”
For now, the board has not yet decided on what building plan to pursue or what date to place a possible bond issue on the ballot to fund new buildings.