The demise of two aging Genoa School District elementary buildings will result in the expansion of two municipal park systems this year.
Yet-to-be finalized land agreements between the Genoa School District, the Village of Genoa, and Allen Township trustees should ensure that acreage surrounding Brunner Elementary and Allen Central Elementary will be turned over to the communities for park space, according to Dennis Mock, school superintendent.
The tradeoff comes as school officials ready to open a new elementary school building for the 2011-12 school year at the high school and middle school campus on Genoa-Clay Center Road.
The village will receive 7.27 acres near Brunner Elementary and Allen Township gets 12 acres now encompassing the Allen Central campus.
The market value for the properties runs about $60,000 to $65,000 each, the superintendent explained.
“We tried to be politically correct with that and make sure the properties were divided evenly between the two,” Mock said.
He added both intend to use the properties as parks. The Allen Central building, which has several problems including asbestos and structural integrity issues, is slated for razing in upcoming months. What will become of Brunner Elementary and eight additional acres remains uncertain.
In his State of the Village Address, Genoa Mayor Mark Williams put a high priority on developing a land-use plan for the donated Brunner Elementary land. The property currently contains two baseball/softball fields and a soccer field.
As of now, the issue has been turned over the economic development committee chaired by Genoa Councilman Ray St. Marie, said Village Administrator Kevin Gladden.
“It’s taken a little longer than expected because of the Brunner building,” Gladden said about the trade off.
An auction held in early December was unsuccessful. Only one person showed interest but nothing came of it, Mock said. Now, the school district has about four weeks to decide what to do with the building – sell it, raze it, or maintain it.
The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission sets the deadline, he said.
“To maintain it would mean boarding it up. I don’t see the board doing that. That is not good for the community or any one else,” Mock said. “I can’t see the board going with that.”
The land agreement will be hammered out with attorneys in coming months as the final preparations are finished on the new elementary school.
“It’s really coming along,” Mock said of the construction of the multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art elementary school set to house kindergarteners through fifth grade. Currently, there are 622 students spread between the two elementaries, Mock said.
Contractors are aiming for a mid-June move-in date, Mock said. The district has tentatively set an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.
Mock is crossing his fingers that things stay on track. He has seen weather and other obstacles wreak havoc on schedules before.
“We were literally waxing the floors two days before the middle school was set to open,” he recalled. “We don’t want to see that again.”
Included in the new building design are solar panels, day lighting, geo-thermal heating system and a number of other Green products incorporated by the architects, The Buehrer Group of Maumee.
“We hope to get a platinum rating,” Mock said of the environmental-friendly efforts. “We definitely know we will achieve gold.”
Taxpayers in the school district approved a 1.9-mill, 28-year bond issue in November 2008 as well as a 0.5-mill maintenance levy. The bond, pegged to cover costs for the new elementary and renovations at the high school, is expected to generate $5.23 million for the project. The remainder comes from $13.7 million provided by the schools commission as well as a $6.2 million credit the district has with the OSFC.