The Northwood Local Schools District has been working with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) to create a possible Master Plan for new or renovated school buildings.
“The Ohio School Facilities Commission has built a lot of buildings and done a lot of renovations around the state. Basically, it’s Northwood’s turn,” said Superintendent Greg Clark.
Based on Northwood’s eligibility ranking, the district was offered the chance of an OSFC state/local shared project in the near future.
“We got a letter from the state saying it would like to partner with us to figure out what is in the best interests of our district. Where we stand right now, if we do end up with the project, 35 percent of the money would come from the state, and 65 percent would come from us locally. That’s a little bit of a hurdle,” said Clark.
He estimated the total cost of such a project could be about $30 million, but a final figure has not yet been determined.
“We don’t know that for sure. Right now, they are doing an assessment of all our buildings. At our end, we’ve put together a Facilities Planning Committee. That group is looking at what the best options are for our district between now and early June.”
The committee is planning public meetings in the district to gauge input on the matter, he said. The first meeting was held at the high school earlier this month.
“We had 39 people at our last meeting. At the end of that meeting, people had the chance to walk around and look at that facility,” said Clark.
“We’re hoping to have the widest variety of citizens from our district to attend and give as many opinions as possible. We will use the information we get from the state’s assessment to come up with what we believe to be the best options for us, and that could mean either no buildings at all, renovation of what we have, or brand new buildings,” said Clark.
“Everything is preliminary right now,” he said.
Clark is urging those who are interested in the fate of the buildings to attend the meetings to become aware of the district’s options, the assessment and to offer input.
“The more people are aware of what’s being contemplated, the less likely they are to be surprised if we do end up with something on the ballot in the fall,” he said.
The next committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the middle school.
“It’s a very open process. I don’t have a preconceived notion of what ought to happen. I just believe that it’s my job as superintendent to make sure our community has the best information possible to make a decision. Even though it’s a 65 percent/35 percent split, and you think we would not get very much from the state, you have to wonder - when the district’s youngest building is 50 years old - when the next opportunity will come,” said Clark.