|Rossford digs deep for facts on school buildings|
|Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Arts & Entertainment Editor|
|Friday, 18 January 2013 10:17|
The public presentation, attended by about 80 people, marked the end of the second phase of the effort to determine whether the school district needs to build new schools or renovate what they have. The committee is scheduled to make a proposal to the Board of Education in June with a levy, if needed, on the November ballot.
“The information we’ve gone through is voluminous,” said Bob Densic, who was on the committee that assessed the current physical state of the schools and what may be needed to bring them up to snuff.
While the master plan committee has brought in some outside help, the heavy lifting has been done by the district residents who have volunteered to serve on committee and subcommittees.
“These are your neighbors,” Densic said.
The portion of the program led by Densic and Jen Pollard took up most of the 100-minute long session.
Complete with photos of wet floors, outdated switch boxes and frazzled roofs, they went through the conditions of the school, system by system, from roofs to basements, starting with the heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The PowerPoint and supporting reports are available at: http://www.rossford.k12.oh.us/
“All schools have reported issues with HVAC,” Pollard said. That means temperatures that top 100 degrees in the summer and cold air coming up in the winter.
The systems were rated poor in all schools, she said.
Teachers often regulate the temperature in their rooms by opening windows, Densic said. That may be effective in short term, but highly inefficient.
He said that some systems are so antiquated that Ron Weaks, the building and grounds supervisor for the schools, has to find them on eBay.
Densic said that repairs in this area, and some others, could be financed by using loans through the state’s House Bill 264 program. This program allows schools to borrow money for energy efficient technology, and then pay off the loans using the money saved.
Other major areas of concern was the schools’ lack of building-wide fire suppression systems and the lack of handicapped accessibility in all buildings.
Also, Pollard said, “all schools need updated technology” and the electric service to buildings, while now adequate, will have to be upgraded to meet those needs.
That is especially essential because the state will start administering tests by computer. Rossford does not have the technology needed for that, nor the quiet spaces in which the students can take the tests.
Not all was in poor shape, lighted and fixtures were considered good, and Densic said the structure of the high school, built in 1922 was strong. That, he said, was a tribute to the city’s founder glass magnate Edward Ford.
If all the issues identified were remedied, the committee figured it would cost about $38 million. Densic noted those costs would be extended over a 10 year period.
Melanie Sayre reported on the district’s population trends.
Rossford itself, she noted, is an aging community, and that’s reflected in a declining school population. The district’s headcount has the number of students declining by 10.4 percent from 2,157 students to 1,932 students from 2000 to 2010 with the decline continuing in the next two years.
She noted that similar, or steeper, declines were also experienced by area private and parochial schools in that period. The exceptions were St. John’s Jesuit, which had an increase in students from 2000 to 2010, but then a drop in the most recent two-year period, and Maumee Country Day, which continues to increase enrollment.
The percentage of Rossford students who are home schooled or attend private schools has declined.
Sayre said that indicates that the district is not losing students to private schools. “We’re losing to Perrysburg and Oregon.”
The total population of the district is 13,160, about half of that, 6,293 in 2010 is in Rossford, the rest in the township.
There are prospects of growth, especially in the township, she said. But that’s not expected to occur until 2030 or later.
The only prospect for an increase in students from Rossford is if older residents move out and are replaced by young families.
Sue Gluckin presented financial figures that showed the district going into the red by 2015. It already is spending more than it takes in.
She also spelled out the various options the district can take to raise money for any project to improve facilities.
John Appt, who chairs the steering committee, said the next step is to solicit the community about what should be done with the schools.
That will done by a survey to be mailed out to over 5,000 households in the district and through a series of community forums in February. Appt said: “That’s where we really need you guys to help us.”
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