Superintendent proposes GCCC location

By Anna Bolton - [email protected]

XENIA — Superintendent Dave Deskins has a property site in mind for a future Greene County Career Center, which may be constructed if county voters pass an estimated 1.03 mill 20-year bond in November.

The proposed site is privately-owned in Xenia east of OVCH Industrial Park and Innovation Way. The field sits off US Route 35 between Union Road and US Route 68.

“It’s a good location for us. It has good visibility, it’s centralized for the county and it’s more accessible,” Deskins said. “It’s the ideal location for what we are hoping to do.”

Although the spot is further from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Deskins said, the highway is a main travel route and provides quicker access to local contractors who work in connection with the base — engineering, manufacturing, machining, cybersecurity and intelligence firms and companies.

Currently his team is checking out the property — testing soil and elevation and more — to make sure it is an appropriate, smart spot for a school. But the biggest component, he said, is making sure it is a safe place for students.

“We’re making sure there are no red flags or alarms,” he said.

Deskins said five out of seven of the school districts would be closer or the same distance to that location as they are to the current career center.

“That makes it more conducive for schools in the county,” he said. “Less time in the bus equals more time in the lab.”

The two districts that would be impacted the most by distance are Fairborn and Yellow Springs, which have the advantage now with the school on West Enon Road.

If the levy passes, residents will pay $36.05 per year for a $100,000 home to help with construction and technology costs.

Even with an expansion in programming, current programming would not go away, according to Deskins.

“Aerospace expansion is truly that — an expansion into market careers in the region,” he said. “To keep our local workforce strong, to train kids and adults.”

If a new facility is built, Ohio Revised Code determines what happens to the old building. Schools would get first priority to purchase the building, then government agencies and then private industries.

“Our intent is to re-purpose the building to use as an educational facility in some capacity,” Deskins said. “That’s our first choice.”

In 2016, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) determined the 50-year-old building required $24.2 million in structural repairs to bring the building to code. This was only after the career center started to repair a poorly-installed HVAC system and found a roofing problem.

The report showed extensive infrastructure issues — including plumbing, septic and electric, and the faulty HVAC and roofing.

“To the typical by-passer … our facility looks well-kept. Our desire to be good stewards can be misleading when people can’t see the infrastructure,” he said. “It’s not due to poor upkeep — just time.”

Administration argued that simply repairing the infrastructure would not allow for any type of expansion or change, and the aerospace initiative — Take Flight — would probably cease.

The board and administration exhausted other options to finance construction of a building before reaching out to voters. They decided to place a bond on the ballot after surveying 500 registered voters in the county.

The survey showed more than 90 percent of community members supported Take Flight and programming expansion. Fifty-nine percent said they would support funding for the construction of a new facility.

While the bond would fund a significant portion of the new building, GCCC would also contribute a portion of the funding which has been saved over the years due to careful planning, a settlement from the failed HVAC installation, and a small continuing permanent improvement levy.

If the levy fails, Deskins said the board will reevaluate its position.

By Anna Bolton

[email protected]

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.