Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016
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Bowling Green 5-mill bond issue would update schools

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Hugh Caumartin, superintendent of Bowling Green schools, holds up one of the proposals for the high school campus.

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BOWLING GREEN - A plan to replace Bowling Green's aging junior high school didn't spring up overnight, nor did the school board's decision to seek tax dollars for four additional projects.

Paul Windisch, president of the Board of Education, said the plans originated with residents of the district, many of whom met with board members in a series of community meetings over the last two years.

"We heard a lot of opinions, a lot of people expressing themselves about what they like, what they need, what this community needs, and frankly I think we have reacted to that," Mr. Windisch said.

"I think the input was tremendous. ... The project we have on the board is a direct result of that."

Voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to back a 5.43-mill bond issue that would raise $43.2 million over 28 years to pay for a new middle school as well as a performing arts center, support services building, athletic building, and an addition to Crim Elementary.

The new tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $166.29 a year.

The school board plans to hold a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday in the junior high cafeteria to kick off the levy campaign, answer questions, and display drawings of different configurations for the high school campus where most of the construction would occur.

Superintendent Hugh Caumartin said he was initially skeptical about how a middle school would fit at the 80-acre campus on West Poe Road, but architects have presented several possibilities that show there's room for all the proposed additions.

None would require using or relocating athletic fields or the 10 acres farmed by vocational agriculture students, Mr. Caumartin said.

Under the plan, the district would combine grades 5-8 at a new $31.1 million middle school. Currently, the junior high accommodates grades six through eight. Moving fifth graders out of the elementary buildings would free up classroom space for programs that are pinched for space, such as music and art, Mr. Windisch said.

A $5.5 million performing arts center would be built to serve both the middle and high schools as well as the community. It would replace the auditorium downtown next to the junior high.

"Today our auditorium is in ill repair. It doesn't have any parking," Mr. Windisch said. "It can't be used effectively."

Also included in the plan is a $4.3 million support services building that would house administrative offices as well as transportation, maintenance, and warehousing for the district.

The existing athletic building at the football stadium would be replaced for $1.2 million, and a multipurpose room, student rest rooms, and storage space would be added to Crim Elementary for $1.2 million.

Mr. Caumartin said that by doing multiple projects at the same site, the district will save money by not having to purchase land and by having the work done at one location.

"You gain some construction efficiency," he said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.

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