Why does Warrensville Heights City School District need new schools?
The district is in dire need of new facilities. The average age of our facilities is 63 years old. The current buildings require significant maintenance at high costs and are not conducive to 21st century learning.
What is the plan for building new facilities?
The WHCSD Board of Education approved a new master facilities plan to reduce the district’s operating facilities from seven to two. WHCSD is building a new pre-K through fifth grade elementary facility and sixth through 12th grade middle and high school facility, which will also house the Board of Education/Central Office.
Eastwood, John Dewey, Westwood and Warrensville Heights Middle School will be demolished and the use of each site will be determined by WHCSD’s board in collaboration with the city of Warrensville Heights.
What are the phases of the project and completion dates?
Phase 1 is building a pre-K through fifth grade elementary facility, on the Randallwood site, scheduled to open fall 2020. Phase 2 is building a sixth through 12th grade middle and high school facility on the current high school football field. This facility is tentatively scheduled to open fall 2021.
Why is the district building the new middle/high school on the football field?
WHCSD received $4M in credits from a 2001 project that locked in our state share at 32% and requires a connection from the new facility to the current recreation center and recently built HS science hallway.
In addition, building the new facility on the football field allows for keeping the current HS open during construction. This saves an estimated $10M – the cost of moving high school scholars to other locations during construction.
How much does this project cost?
The elementary building is budgeted at $25.7M. The middle and high school building has a base cost budgeted at $37M. With input from the community, WHCSD is deciding what local-funded initiatives (LFI) will be added to the facility which would require a bond issue request between $58M and $68M.
LFIs are projects not co-funded by the state such as additional classroom space and academic areas, a tournament gym, support space that can be used by community members and a new school bus garage.
What are the LFIs for the facilities?
The essential LFIs include a new athletic facility, additional classroom space, auditorium renovation and a bus garage. WHCSD will continue to meet with the community and determine additional LFIs. Community meeting dates are listed here.
How will the facilities be paid for?
The State of Ohio pays 32% of the base cost of both schools. The state contributed $8.2M for the elementary building and WHCSD contributed $17.7M. WHCSD utilized revenue from new developments such as Amazon to finance its construction. The Board of Education’s efforts to use existing revenue resulted in no Phase 1 (new elementary school) tax increase for taxpayers.
The state has committed $12.4M to Phase 2 (middle/high school) of the project. To complete Phase 2, WHCSD will need voter support from Warrensville Heights, Highland Hills and North Randall community members. A final cost has yet to be determined but WHCSD’s treasurer has developed a pathway to secure the revenue with the least impact to taxpayers.
WHCSD has identified the following needs and associated costs:
MS/HS additional academic areas $9.5M
Tournament gym and support spaces $2.3M
MS/HS auditorium renovation $1.5M
Board/central office housed at MS/HS $700,000
Outdoor athletic facilities (track, football, base/softball, practice fields, pool/water recreation) $12.6M
Bus garage $1.2M
Main entry enhancement/Northfield Road Crossing $500,000
New elementary additional classrooms $2.6M
MS/HS future classroom expansion $9M
How much will the project cost a homeowner?
With the facility cost projected at both $58M and $68M, the project will cost:
Homeowner with property valued at $60,000
||$58M ||$68M |
|Cost Per Year||$105||$147 |
|Cost Per Month ||$8.75|| $12.25|
Homeowner with property valued at $100,000
| || $58M||$68M |
| Cost Per Year|| $175||$245 |
| Cost Per Month||$14.50 ||$20.41 |
Why do we need additional academic space?
An enrollment study conducted by the state in 2015-16 projected our district at 1829 scholars in 10 years. Due to current growth, enrollment was 1770 for the 2017-18 school year. Additional classrooms are needed to accommodate continued growth.
What is the timeline?
By June 30, 2018, the WHCSD Board of Education will approve a resolution to proceed with Phase 2. The bond issue must be placed on the ballot by August 1, 2018. The election is November 6, 2018.