New schools would be major upgrade

By Scott Halasz

[email protected]

XENIA —Voters in the Xenia Community School District are being asked to pass a bond issue in November to allow for construction of new high school/middle school complex.

The total cost of the project is approximately $64 million. If the 3.9-mill, 37-year bond issue passes, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $136.50 per year according to Greene County Auditor David Graham. He said the total revenue of the levy over 37 years is expected to be $94 million, which is what the project will cost including principal and interest.

The above figures have been certified by Graham.

The bond issue and construction are necessary because the current buildings are old and need many repairs to bring them up to code and to hold the projected student population, which is growing yearly. The Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is giving the district nearly $29 million to help fund the project, recommends replacement over renovation because the cost to renovate is at least 66 percent of the cost to construct new.

The new buildings combined would be 332,879 square feet, which is more than the current buildings’ combined square footage of 293,067. They could house at a minimum 2,000 students, which is more than current projections. According to Glenn Rowell, a project manager with the OSFC, the commission sent a team to evaluate the buildings, which then came up with a renovation cost and compared it to the cost of building new. It is based solely on square footage and not the student capacity, Rowell said.

He added that if a building was built to hold 900 students, it could easily hold 1,000.

The proposed complex would be located at the intersection of US Route 42 and US Route 35 near Ledbetter Road, providing many advantages to the school district according to Morrison.

Among them are:

— The schools will be accessible from Route 35 running east and west and Route 42 which runs north and south.

— This site will help connect the west side of the community with the east side since there will be access via U.S. 42 and Bellbrook Road. It is surrounded by housing.

— The community supported neighborhood elementary buildings. According to school officials, the proposed site is less than 1.5 miles from Cox, Arrowood and McKinley Elementary buildings and the Board of Education, roughly 2.5 miles from the preschool and Shawnee Elementary, and less than four miles from Tecumseh Elementary.

— This site has Route 42 at one access where there is already a widened road for turn lanes and a traffic light. The other access would be off of Bellbrook Road, which also has some road improvements due to its proximity to Route 35.

— Currently middle and high school students ride the same buses. This requires some students to ride to one building, drop students off and then go to their final destination. With the selected site, both the middle and high school students will have one drop-off location. It is surrounded by housing so the total number of students needing to be bused is anticipated to reduce.

— The intersection at Route 42 and Ledbetter Road will have a crosswalk to allow students to safely cross. This includes the Ledbetter and former Spring Hill Elementary neighborhood. Bellbrook Road will have a crosswalk to allow students from the Arrowhead neighborhood. The Little Miami scenic bike trail runs through the site so walkers/bikers should have a safe way to get to school since there are many ways to access the bike path throughout town. As an example, students in Wright Cycle Estates could access the bike trail and walk/bike to school with no need to walk over the highway.

If approved, construction would start in 2018 and be completed in 2020 according to school officials.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.