Saturday, Oct 01, 2016
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North Baltimore school issue is moved to win column

NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio - Disbelief was quickly replaced by relief yesterday as North Baltimore school officials learned the district would be building a new high school/middle school after all.

The Wood County Board of Elections certified the results of the May 5 election, moving the North Baltimore bond issue and income tax from the losing column to the winning one. The combination 7.57-mill bond issue and 0.25 percent income tax passed 540-533 once all provisional and absentee ballots had been counted.

"We are very happy today, very happy," said Superintendent Kyle Clark, adding that the implications of new schools go far beyond the classrooms.

"Just looking at our town in general, this is just huge," he said. "With the CSX development and the potential growth from that, having a new school for people to look at and visit before they make a decision about where they're going to move and settle down is just fantastic."

CSX has begun site work for an

$80 million intermodal hub just west of North Baltimore where freight will be loaded onto shipping containers moved by rail or truck depending on their destination.

The complex is expected to attract warehouses and distribution centers to the area.

Village Administrator Kathy Healy said she felt like turning cartwheels down Main Street when she found out the levy passed.

"I think in the next couple of years we're going to see a lot of positive things for our economy in southern Wood County," Ms. Healy said. "We've already had some businesses contact us about opening up here."

She said new schools can only help.

"It's just one more thing to spur interest in our little village," she said. "I think it just shows what the community is ready for. We're ready to start moving forward and doing some positive things for our area."

The bond issue and income tax, which are expected to generate nearly $10 million over 28 years, will pay the local share of an overall $22 million project that includes renovation of Powell Elementary and construction of a new high school and middle school on 88 acres along Rudolph Road east of town.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission is to pay $12.1 million toward the project, which is expected to take two years to complete.

The same tax request failed last November and won by just seven votes May 5.

"Now that this is behind us we certainly invite all the people to be involved and get involved in designing this project," Mr. Clark said. "Even though they may have felt they couldn't support it initially, we certainly welcome their input now so that we have a project that's accepted by all."

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.

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