By Scott Halasz
XENIA — The Ohio Facilities Commission Thursday approved more than $28.5 million in funding, allowing Xenia schools to move forward with plans to replace the high school and Warner Middle School.
The district must provide $33.4 million and will attempt to raise that with a tax levy, most likely in November. If it passes, a combined high school and middle school building will be constructed on a yet-to-be determined site within the city or township.
The current buildings — which are more than 90 years old combined — have myriad issues inside and out. An assessment done by the facilities commission determined that renovating and expanding the buildings would cost more than 66% of the state’s estimate of $62 million.
“Our middle and high school buildings are not serving our students in the ways they need to prepare them for the future,” Superintendent Denny Morrison said. “The aging buildings need so much costly work, and we simply don’t have the money to fix all the issues on our own.”
The district presented four options to residents during forums held in the spring. After considering citizen input and the costs of all options, the district decided that building one building — each school would have its own wing with shared central space — would work best.
Other options included two separate buildings, renovating the current buildings and building a new high school and converting the current high school into a middle school.
“This is a critical step in ensuring that the children in the Xenia district are in facilities that help support academic achievement,” said OSFC Executive Director David Williamson. “There is also a significant economic impact attached to today’s commission action – the construction work generated by this project could translate into both job opportunities for local residents and increased purchases of goods and services from local businesses.”
The district must raise its local share within 13 months to receive the state funds. Districts that fail to acquire their funding in that period are considered “lapsed,” but can still participate in OSFC programs once they obtain local funding, according to a press release from the commission.
The levy is estimated to cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $2.70 per week, according to school officials.
In all, the commission approved nearly $360 million in funding for 15 districts. Fairborn was also approved, receiving a pledge of $23.4 million from the commission.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.