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Published: Thursday, 8/5/2004

Swanton: Use of building-sale income mulled

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

SWANTON - Replacing windows, adding parking spaces, and upgrading technology are among options being considered by Swanton Local School District officials who will decide how to spend $500,000 from the sale of a school building.

The money will be earmarked for permanent improvement projects that could get under way next summer, officials said. Bill Green, school board president, noted that the money from the sale of Swanton Township School to the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority cannot be spent on operating costs.

The township school on Airport Highway near Toledo Express Airport closed last year after officials determined that it would be too costly to insulate the old school from aircraft noise.

The school's purchase by the port authority is the latest in a long list of property buyouts in the area, funded mainly by the federal government. The agency expects the Federal Aviation Administration to pay for 95 percent of the $500,000 price and cost to demolish it if the agency can't find someone to buy or lease it.

Superintendent Kevin McQuade, who has presented school board members with a list of possible projects the money could be used for, said there is no firm date for when the school district will receive the money, but the "closing date is close."

Mr. McQuade emphasized that the $500,000 is "one-time dollars," and it will be up to school board members to decide how to use the money to benefit the district.

Officials will work with the Ohio School Facilities Commission as permanent improvement plans for the district are drawn up.

The projects need state approval for the district to be eligible for a $500,000 local credit under a matching-funds program.

Under that program, the state is to pay $14.8 million and Swanton $20 million, representing a 63 percent local share and a 37 percent state share.

OSFC money for a new middle school is anticipated in 2009 or 2010. Swanton voters in 2000 approved a bond issue to construct a high school and fund renovations of two elementary schools.

"We do have a need between now and when we receive state money. We can do more on our part to bring schools up to the state code," said Mr. Green. "I view this as a good opportunity to use money toward that purpose."

Proposed projects include:

●Replacing windows at the Park and Crestwood schools at an estimated cost of $225,000.

●Creating 16-20 parking spaces at Crestwood school at a possible cost of $30,000 to $35,000.

●Replacing boilers in the middle school at an estimated cost of $100,000 to $125,000.

●Upgrading technology at the Crestwood building and at the board office at an estimated cost of about $40,000.

School officials also will look into possible upgrades to the bus garage, such as purchasing a fuel tank and then purchasing diesel fuel through the state to save on fuel costs. It could cost $40,000 for a fuel tank, said Mr. McQuade. Currently there is only one local source for diesel fuel, he said.



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