XENIA — Xenia Community Schools will be able to complete a massive renovation and expansion of the high school without needing to ask for additional taxpayer money.
The district announced Thursday that it will receive almost $38 million from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission through the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP). The funding will be used for the new Warner Middle School and the much-needed work at Xenia High School.
“We are obviously elated about this additional funding from the state, and I do not think the impact this will have on Xenia students can be overstated,” said Superintendent Dr. Gabriel Lofton. “I am proud to say that we were able to capitalize on our solid financial position as a district to take advantage of this opportunity when it presented itself — essentially allowing us to complete two school buildings for the price of one.”
Several years ago the district applied to be part of the Expedited Local Partnership Program, which allows a district to pay for construction using local funds — such as the bond issue passed in 2021 — while earning a credit from the state to be used for future projects.
With money now available, OFCC will move the district into CFAP, which will allow it to receive the nearly $38 million in co-funding from the state for both projects now, rather than the $18 million it would have received through ELPP at some point in the future — based on the state’s budget.
This support will assist in the completion of all construction projects committed to by district administrators and the board of education in 2008. Segment one focused on the five new elementary school buildings that opened in 2012. Segment two is the new Warner Middle School that is currently in progress, and the switch to CFAP will allow the district to also complete the high school project as part of this phase without having to secure additional funding from the community, according to district officials.
“I am so pleased that this funding will allow the district to complete both much-needed projects in a fiscally responsible way — all without asking XCS taxpayers to fund an additional bond issue,” said Carolyn Huber, treasurer for Xenia Community Schools.
Xenia High School was built following the 1974 tornado that destroyed the previous building and needs significant infrastructure work after nearly 50 years of heavy use, the district said in a release. In addition, the project will create the best learning environment possible for students, giving them the tools they need to chart a successful path forward after high school, the release said.
“While the district initially tabled the conversation about a complete renovation at the high school due to the more pressing need at Warner, based on feedback from the community at the time, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that the high school was also in real need,” Lofton said.
The OFCC approved the funding at the July 7 commission meeting, but the district’s application must receive final approval from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management’s Controlling Board in August. Once approved, the district will move forward to set a timeline for the project.
“Looking ahead, we will follow the model currently in use for Warner Middle School that provides multiple opportunities for input from our entire community,” Lofton said. “We will ensure that our parents, students, and teachers are engaged in the planning process, and that we continue to be a good steward of the limited resources available in order to provide the best-possible learning environment for our students.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.