XENIA — Xenia’s board of education officially began the process of replacing Warner Middle School Monday.
During its regular meeting, the board passed a resolution declaring the intent to partner with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and place a bond issue on the Nov. 3 ballot. If passed, the district expects 46 percent of approved construction costs for a new middle school to be reimbursed by the OFCC.
XCS tried several times in the past to pass a bond issue that would enable the district to build a new high school/middle school complex near Ledbetter Road and U.S. 42. After the last failure, Superintendent Dr. Gabe Lofton convened a visioning committee to explore facility options.
“As a district, we have a very real responsibility to maintain current facilities and upgrade or replace where maintenance is no longer the most reasonable, cost-effective choice,” Lofton said. “This resolution is an extension of the work done by the visioning committee over the past two years, and moves us one small but important step forward in the process.”
After many meetings and deliberations, the committee recommended replacing Warner.
According to the state’s assessment done several years ago, WMS, originally built in 1962, has several main systems — including heating, electrical, fire alarm, and plumbing — that are in need of replacement, while significant repairs are necessary for the roof and ventilation system. Other issues with the more-than 50-year-old structure include a non-compliant security system, a lack of central air conditioning, and inadequate and non-compliant handicapped access. The report also noted that the overall facility is not equipped with an automated fire suppression system.
Warner houses 1,100 students daily and is no longer able to meet the needs of those students, according to district officials. Projections also show that the population of middle school-age students in the Xenia district will increase in the coming years.
The XCS long-range facilities plan — which was revamped in 2017 to take a look at the district’s physical assets — places WMS at the top of the list of needs. Based on those assessments, as well as feedback from the community, Warner has become the top priority.
“The board is committed to ensuring the well-being and success of all students in Xenia schools,” said Jennifer Marietta, XCS board president. “Providing quality facilities that are safe and secure is at the core of that commitment, and we are moving forward with that end goal in mind.”
Although the visioning committee discussed the high school, no recommendation was made.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.