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Published: Wednesday, 2/10/2010

Rossford panel looks at district's options

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The estimates are in: Renovating existing Rossford schools would cost $46.7 million, while replacing them would total at least $52 million.

And either option would require voters to approve a bond issue for a still-undetermined amount, probably in November, according to Rossford Exempted Village Schools officials.

Three members of a schools study committee and district officials held a community meeting last week to update about 150 residents on findings. They continue to seek input from residents on several issues, including whether to build three or four buildings; to divide schools as K-5, 6-8, and 9-12; and address safety concerns with the proposed East Toledo casino about a mile away from most existing buildings.

District officials have had discussions primarily concerning safety with Penn National Gaming Inc., which plans to build the casino by 2012.

Officials also hope to get some funding for schools from businesses, including Penn National.

"If we can get them to give up $60 million, I'll guess we'll have all new buildings," said Lou Soltis of Rossford, a member of the committee of local engineers, architects, businessmen, and educators study-ing the school issue.

Three of the district's five schools date back to the 1920s. The newest, Indian Hills Elementary School, was built in 1970.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission recommends each school be replaced, and it has offered to pay 6 percent of building costs, Mr. Soltis said. Building three schools - one each for K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 - would cost an estimated $52 million, while having those three plus a second K-5 would cost an estimated $54.8 million, he said.

It costs the district $400,000 a year to repair existing buildings, but consolidating into three buildings would save $886,822 a year, while consolidating into four would save $43,911, said Dick Goeke of Rossford, another committee member.

Another community forum is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 in Glenwood Elementary School's cafeteria.

Questions were collected from the audience last week. Those questions not addressed during the forum will be answered on the district's Web site, Susan Lang, superintendent, said.

Next month, tours will be given of district schools.

Tours of the middle and high schools will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 4 and 9:30 a.m. March 6. Participants will meet in the high school cafeteria.

The elementary schools will be open for tours at 6:30 p.m. March 18 and 9:30 a.m. March 20. Participants will meet in Eagle Point Elementary cafeteria.



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