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Published: Wednesday, 5/10/2006

Perrysburg board mulls scaled-back junior high

With little time left for debate, some members of the Perrysburg Board of Education yesterday questioned the latest version of the district's proposed facilities plan, which would reduce the size of the expansion at the junior high school and save $3 million.

The proposal calls for a one-story, 10-classroom addition to the junior high, about half the size of the two-story addition proposed earlier. The new proposal's total estimated cost is $25 million with the smaller addition.

The rationale for the reduction comes from three sets of enrollment projections that show little or no growth through 2011.

But some board members worried that the smaller addition wouldn't be enough.

Board member Walter Edinger said if the district only wants to handle its current needs, it should put temporary trailers at the junior high. "You build for the future, you don't build for the current capacity," he said.

With the 10-classroom addition, the school would hold about 1,040 students at 80 percent capacity. The larger addition could provide space for about 1,300 students.

If the board goes with the smaller addition, the building could be expanded again later, either with another one-story section or by adding a second floor to the addition. But that would cost more than doing it all at once.

Expanding the junior high to a 1,300-student capacity with the larger addition could preclude having two small schools in the future, board member Gretchen Downs said.

The board had considered building a middle school for grades five and six and converting the junior high to a school for grades seven and eight.

The latest proposal also calls for expanding the junior high's music and dining areas and making other needed renovations. Some projects planned for other buildings were shifted to the list funded by the district's permanent improvement levy.

Superintendent Mike Cline said the board must decide on the facilities plan at its June work session if it wants to put a bond issue on the November ballot.

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