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Our Town Schools

Perrysburg school officials hone in on cost of new school, other improvements

Project likely will be $39 million to $40 million

Costs for a new school and other school district improvements are being fine-tuned as Perrysburg Board of Education prepares to ask voters in November for a levy to fund the work.

School officials on Thursday talked about whether to seek $40 million in funds to build a new fifth and sixth grade school as well as to install air conditioning in Perrysburg Junior High and an auxiliary gym in the high school, and make building safety improvements at the elementary schools. Also discussed was not doing some of the items, keeping the total price tag to $39 million.

“I appreciate the fine tuning down, because in my mind, $40 million won‘‍t pass,” said board member Cal Smith, referring to voters approving a millage. “And this has to pass.”

The board strongly backs the new school, because enrollment growth has exceeded existing space. There are currently 20 portable classroom buildings used throughout the district and a lunch overcrowding issue at the junior high.

The new fifth and sixth grade building is designed to handle 900 students.

Even though the board seemed confident with the $39 million plan, it asked the Wood County Auditor‘s office to certify one bond of $39 million and one bond of $40 million. The board is expected to pick one of those at its July 21 meeting.

Once that is determined, the amount of the tax levy needed from voters will be determined. If $40 million is the project size, district officials have said a 3.02-mill levy would be needed. It would amount to $211 a year for the owner of a $200,000 home. For a project just shy of $39 million, the levy would be 2.94 mills. 

However, the district‘s current 1.85-mill levy used to to build Fort Meigs Elementary will expire after next year, so the new levy would add $82 in taxes more each year to the owner of a $200,000 home than does the current millage.

The Collaborative architectural firm of Toledo presented some options to the board on Thursday which could hold down the cost. The new school will cost about $33 million, and board members did not seem to back trimming 1,800-square feet from its cafeteria to save money. That space also would be used for school plays. 

“In terms of flexibility, I think the 1,800 (square feet) is well spent,” said Walter Edinger, board member. “We can’‍t do it after and it is a good investment.”

Costs of putting back the additional space in the cafeteria is being recalculated by the Toledo design firm, but the school cost about $33 million as presented Thursday.

A proposed 9,000-square foot auxiliary gym for the high school will cost $2.3 million and air conditioning in the junior high will be $2.6 million, the design firm said.

Gretchen Downs, board president, said at the end of Thursday‘‍s meeting that she feels much better about the plan and liked hearing the design firm will work with teachers and district groups to finalize plans if voters approve the levy.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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