Sunday, May 27, 2018
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School board in Sylvania seeks $79M for upgrades

The Sylvania Board of Education voted yesterday to advance a $79 million bond issue proposal that would fund improvements to the district's facilities.

The board is seeking certification from the Lucas County auditor to place the matter on the November ballot.

The proposal is expected to equate to less than 3 mills, but exact figures will not be available until the proposal is certified in the next few weeks.

The measure was approved 4-0 with George Gernot III - who resigned effective yesterday - not present.

Superintendent Bradley Rieger said, despite the uncertain economy, the time has come to pursue funds for the facilities master plan, created in 2002.

"Right now, our academic offerings, our extracurricular activities are top-shelf. Our facilities are lagging ...," he said.

The plan would eliminate the need for modular classrooms, provide space for all-day kindergarten, and install air conditioning throughout the district.

It would bring all facilities into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and give schools redesigned entryways, including security vestibules.

The plan calls for demolishing and rebuilding Central, Maplewood, and a large portion of Hillview elementaries for about $38 million and renovating other district buildings.

About $15 million would be devoted to renovating and expanding the district's other four primary schools, adding classrooms at each.

The plan reserves about $5.4 million for the district's junior high schools, including the addition of air conditioning at McCord and science-classroom renovations at Arbor Hills.

At the high schools, about $18.1 million in improvements are proposed, including replacing the heating and air-conditioning system at Southview and expanding science labs and music facilities at Northview.

The other $2.3 million from the bond issue would be for contingency projects such as roofing in the district.

The decision to move forward with the tax issue follows a series of public meetings that gauged support for the tax issue.

"Mindful of the economic concerns, we are bringing forward only those concerns that we'd deemed essential for the stability of the district," Nancy Crandell, district spokesman, said. "This bond issue has only the really, really urgent necessities."

Many of the district's older buildings - four of which were built in the 1920s - are not designed to accommodate modern technology, Ms. Crandell said.

Many schools do not include classrooms large enough for the needs of special-education classes, she added.

One of the most pressing needs is relocating Central Elementary from the busy intersection of West Central Avenue and King Road, Mr. Rieger said.

The district has been forced to channel traffic through the Meijer store parking lot because of congestion, he said.

Under the facilities plan, the school would be relocated to a more suitable location.

Of the facilities situation overall, Mr. Rieger said, "We have to do something. We can't keep Band-Aiding it anymore."

The school board is expected to make its final determination on the tax issue, with exact millage rates, at a meeting July 25 or during a special meeting in August, district officials said.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:

or 419-724-6104.

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