Rossford narrows school options
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 09:59
ROSSFORD - Having listened to an architect talk for 90 minutes Saturday morning outlining 17 school building configurations, some of the several dozen people in attendance wanted more.
When they and others weighed in online, the top choice was an option not discussed by the architects.
The most popular option calls for the middle and high school to be located downtown on the site of the existing school. The building would be mostly new and would preserve the current high school's facade and some space. The Eagle Point Elementary would be renovated as a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten school with grades 2-5 housed in a new school built on the site of Indian Hills Elementary. No cost was attached to the plan.
John Appt, who chairs the Master Plan Steering Committee, said he was "surprised a little bit" that a configuration not studied by the architects came out on top, and that of the most popular five options only two were among those that the architects determined best fit the guiding principles.
Still the five options that topped the online survey each had different characteristics that may appeal to some residents, Appt said.
The options favored by the architects all included the mostly new high school and a 6-8 middle school on the current site with varying elementary configurations.
Two of architects' recommendations were favored by those surveyed.
One had all elementary grades in a new building on the site of the Indian Hills school, costing about $72 million to construct. The other would have pre-kindergarten-2 in a new school on the Eagle Point site and grades 3-5 in a new school on the Indian Hills site, costing about $75 million.
Another option favored in the survey was remodeling all the existing buildings and maintaining the current pre-kindergarten through 6 grade configuration. While the architects determined that would have the lowest construction cost, it would cost about $300,000 a year more annually in utility costs because of the age and inefficiency of the buildings. Architect John Castellana, of TMP/The Collaborative, said those higher utility costs would negate the lower construction costs in about seven years.
The other option was building a new pre-kindergarten-12 complex at the Glenwood site, costing about $72 million.
Appt said the committee, architects and other professionals will now go to work rounding out those proposals with better drawings and better construction, maintenance and utility costs.
That will be presented at a community forumg May 15 at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.
At Saturday's meeting, Castellana led the discussion of the 17 options. The evaluation of those options was guided by principles including curricular concerns, safety, access to technology and energy efficiency. The principles were formulated through discussions with staff and meetings with the community.
It was an attempt, Castellana said, to "bring some objectivity" into the process. "We tried to bring it down to something you could latch onto,"
Still Robert Densic, who has been involved in the process, said the district should give residents a blank slate and let them fill in what they want.
Densic said the district risked a repeat of what happened last time a school building project was put before voters and went down to defeat by a 2-to-1 margin because residents didn't feel they had enough input.
That plan called for building a middle and high school on the Glenwood site, and in a second phase build a single elementary school, possibly on the downtown site of the high school.
But Sharon Belkofer, a township resident and former teacher, maintained that there have been plenty of meetings seeking community input "I've talked to a lot of people and they are eager to move on."
The one guiding principle of the process should be "what's best for the kids," she said.
Appt said 59 people participated in the online survey,.
The five top options each scored 91 to 95 points in weighted voting. After that there was a definite drop off.
Among those scoring little support were: a plan to consolidate all grades in one complex located along the Maumee River on a brownfield site; a plan using the downtown site for high school, Glenwood for a grade 5-8 middle school and Eagle Point for elementary; and using Glenwood for high school, downtown for middle school and Eagle Point for elementary.