By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools officials know steps must be taken in the future to address the district’s aging buildings.
But, in these uncertain times of the ongoing coronavirus situation, they also know there are many things to overcome with the pandemic before moving on to any proposed projects.
“While new facilities are still very much needed, it seems that the facilities discussion needs to be put on hold until the state, and our community, recovers from the pandemic crisis,” said Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Garilee Ogden. “We are holding off on any discussion regarding new buildings for the foreseeable future.”
Ogden noted families in the district have other priorities to think about other than taxes during these trying times.
“Without question, we are very concerned about the impact the pandemic crisis is having on the community,” said Ogden. “It’s unknown at present when people will be able to get back to work, and how long it will take people to recover from this unprecedented event financially.”
Added Board President Libby Gray, “It’s just not realistic to go to our community to ask for funding for new building projects right now.”
Ogden said district officials understand that the Ohio School Facilities Commission has put a hold on all current and prospective future school construction projects until further notice.
“With these uncertainties, we don’t believe now is the right time to engage the community in any meaningful discussion regarding the replacement of our elementary and middle schools,” said Ogden.
When asked when the district anticipates restarting the facilities discussions, Ogden said, “It’s not possible to answer this question at present.”
Also, when asked if any work is being done in the meantime to determine potential financing options for new facilities, Ogden said the district is not pursuing any other funding options at this time.
District officials remain aware of the need for new school buildings.
“Our schools remain overcrowded, with many instances where students and staff are forced to use space that was never intended to be used as classrooms,” said Ogden. “With each passing year, the buildings experience more wear and tear. Maintenance costs will continue to increase, eating into more and more of our operating funds. We also remain very concerned about the buildings from the standpoint of our ability to monitor and secure them in the event of an emergency.”
About the district’s buildings
The ages and capacities of Groveport Madison’s elementary and middle schools (the high school has already been replaced) are as follows:
•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 461. Functional capacity, 425.
•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 391. Functional capacity, 425.
•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 451. Functional capacity, 425.
•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923. Enrollment, 432. 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, 332. Functional capacity, 425.
•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 672. Functional capacity, 446.
•Middle School North – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 497. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School South – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 465. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Enrollment, 451. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
(Functional capacity is 85 percent of original design capacity and reflects modern requirements for classroom space and programming. Source: Groveport Madison Schools.)