GIBSONBURG - The Gibsonburg board of education will meet with district residents tonight to discuss which of two locations should be selected for construction of a combined junior-senior high school.
Superintendent James Reiter said he and the board have prepared a list of strengths and weaknesses for both sites and will talk about them at the meeting, which begins at 6:30 in the high school gymnasium.
The district is deciding between a 50-acre site at Sandusky County Road 42 and State Rt. 600, just west of the village limits, and a 51-acre site across from White Star Park at State Rt. 300 and Linden Avenue. The current junior and senior high school, built in 1929 and expanded in 1956, is to be torn down.
Mr. Reiter said the expense of acquiring the land at each site and installing lines for water and sewer service will drive much of the decision.
“Those are the two major factors: the cost to acquire the land, and the cost to acquire village utilities,” he said.
Construction is expected to start between December, 2001, and March, 2002, and be finished by July, 2003.
The construction is part of a $24 million project to upgrade the district's buildings. Its other school, Hilfiker Elementary, which opened in 1965, will be renovated and expanded by 25,000 square feet.
“It's going to be a great thing for the community when it's done,” the superintendent said.
Students in grades 6 through 12 go to the high school building, and those in kindergarten through grade 5 attend classes at Hilfiker. The Ohio School Facilities Commission is contributing more than $18 million toward the building work. Gibsonburg voters in November approved the local share of the project: a 5.2-mill bond issue that will generate nearly $4.3 million for the construction and renovation work, plus a 0.5-mill operating levy for maintaining the new classrooms.
Voters also passed a 1.8-mill bond issue for $1.5 million in work the state won't fund, including a transportation complex, football stadium, baseball fields, and administrative offices.
Mr. Reiter said the district found no suitable sites in town for the new school.
“I don't believe there is any current site in the village limits that could handle it, other than the one we're on,” he said. “We're going to tear this one down. And if we do that, you can't go to school here while the other building's being built.”