Bowling Green will soon learn what district staff and community members want in their school buildings.

At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, board member Jill Carr said the visioning exercises started earlier this month with teachers will conclude next Monday.

Representatives from Fanning Howey will facilitate the discussion.

The board hired Fanning Howey, an architecture and engineering firm in Celina, in June to design a facilities master plan.

A presentation will be made to the school board at its October meeting.

Community members representing all sides for the need for improved facilities are represented, Carr said. Topics of discussion have included the configuration and location of facilities.

Board member Ryan Myers, who is also a member of the facilities advisory group, said teachers spent a professional development day earlier this month discussing their vision for new facilities.

Elementary staff spent the morning discussing options while secondary staff held their discussion in the afternoon.

“Anecdotally, it was very exciting,” Myers said, “just to walk around the listen to the conversations.”

Teachers were asked to consider the six Cs that students should know: Communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, community and citizenship, and character and compassion.

They took each of those Cs and asked groups of teachers three questions: Why is it important in the real word, what experiences and activities need to occur for those skills to develop, and what type of spaces help support that development.

“You start to see excitement in teachers’ eyes when they start thinking about this,” Myers said.

They looked at a traditional building, facilities with bigger social spaces and learning areas, and contemporary options where it is lab-based rather than classroom-based, he said.

Teachers were asked to put green stickers on what they liked as an education setting and red stickers on options they didn’t like.

Fanning-Howey collected that data and will start to put the pieces together, Myers said, in time for October meeting.

In November 2017 and again in May 2018, a $72 million bond issue – paid entirely through property taxes – failed at the polls. The money would have been used to build one new elementary and renovate and expand the high school.

In November 2019, a $40 million bond issue to construct one consolidated elementary failed.

The district also has learned it will be allowed to use is Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to purchase mini-split units for Conneaut and Kenwood elementary classrooms as well as for the high school.

The mini-split units will provide air conditioning to each classroom, but not ventilation. They can be moved if new facilities are built.

The grant is for $3.2 million. The estimated cost of the project is $3.9 million.

Treasurer Cathy Schuller said at a previous meeting the district hopes to use $2.5 million of the ESSER funds. The $1.4 million shortage can come from pipeline money, which has a balance of $2.6 million, or from carryover in the general fund.

The board authorized Fanning-Howey to serve as the engineer for professional design services to assist in the planning and construction of the HVAC system improvements.