XENIA — Xenia Community Schools Board of Education voted to approve a resolution to participate in the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP) Segment Two — funding the Warner Middle School construction project for a total of almost $45 million.
The resolution supersedes the resolution executed at the June 17 board meeting and will allow the district to delay accepting any state co-funding for renovations at Xenia High School.
Despite current construction inflation rates between 30-35 percent, plans for the completion of Warner Middle School are on track. The state share of the project will be $20,592,315, local share is $24,173,588, for a total project budget of $44,765,903.
“Based on the most recent construction cost estimates, which are even higher than those received earlier this summer, we simply do not have local funds to complete both projects to state specifications,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Lofton. “Choosing to delay accepting the additional funds from the state at this time was a difficult decision in some ways, but I believe that our board made the right decision to be more intentional about the work we need to do to plan the right facility for Xenia High School students now and in decades to come.”
In regard to envisioning future upgrade plans for Xenia High School, the district will begin holding community conversations later this school year to get more input from the community before making decisions about the high school.
“I think we truly need to go back to our community now for input about the high school before making any decisions that will impact our students for the next four or five decades,” Lofton said. “During the initial visioning process that began in 2017, our community had strong opinions about plans for the high school. However, given the events of the past five years, we would be amiss to not get additional feedback before making a decision of this magnitude.”
According to school officials, the district has invested nearly $2 million in the infrastructure of the high school with upgrades to HVAC systems, hot water heating, carpet, LED lighting project, parking lot resurfacing, technology upgrades, and the renovation of the Bob Hope Auditorium in 2019.
“The need at Xenia High School continues to be great,” Lofton said. “However, at current construction rates, the additional funds would not have the impact that the community would expect from that kind of investment, so the decision to delay that project is the most reasonable and fiscally responsible choice.”
The next XCS Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept 12.