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Published: Wednesday, 10/17/2007

Site for Genoa elementary school still uncertain

Dennis Mock Dennis Mock

If all goes according to plan, elementary school students enrolled in the Genoa Area Local School District will all go to class in one building in a few years.

But where that brand-new building will be is up for debate.

The Genoa district soon will have funding to build a new elementary school and add a new high school onto its existing auditorium through the Ohio School Facilities Commission, Superintendent Dennis Mock said.

As it stands now, students in grades K-2 go to Brunner Elementary School and then head over to Allen Central Elementary for grades 3-5.

When students get to junior high, they begin taking classes at the John C. Roberts Middle School and then move on to Genoa High School.

Genoa school board members recently decided that the best plan would be to combine the elementary schools into one new building and renovate the high school auditorium so a new school can be built off of it - which was one of three plans drafted by the state facilities commission.

District officials have been talking with commission officials since 1999 because they broke ground for a new middle school in 2000. The modern middle school now adjoins the 46-year-old high school on 60 acres of land off North Genoa-Clay Center Road.

Mr. Mock said the district of more than 1,500 students wasn't supposed to be on the list to receive money from the facilities commission until at least 2009.

But the school board recently vot-

ed to jump on the fast track, which was established after the commission was given $4.3 billion through the state's tobacco settlement to fund school construction projects over the next few years.

The district will be responsible for 42 percent of the project; the state will pay for 58 percent. The school board locked in these rates in January, 2003, for future state facilities commission funding purposes, Mr. Mock said.

"I think Genoa would be crazy not to take advantage of the 58 percent credit," he said.

If approved by voters, a bond issue would pay for the new construction over the next 28 years. The district plans to ask voters to approve the bond issue along with a small permanent improvement maintenance levy at a special election in March.

In late September, the school board hired Maumee-based Buehrer architectural firm to oversee the project. The state facilities commission appoints a construction manager for the work.

District officials know they want a combined elementary school, but are not sure where to put it.

They could build it on the same campus as the junior high and high school, or could construct it on a part of the eight acres at the existing Brunner Elementary School, 1224 West St. in Genoa.

But that decision largely will be based on what the community has to say at several public forums Mr. Mock said will be scheduled before the first of the year.

The superintendent said the new schools not only will allow students to learn with cutting-edge technology, but also would add security and room.

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