LEES CREEK — The Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) has estimated the total cost to build a new East Clinton Middle School plus renovate the high school at $15.5 million.
East Clinton, whose middle school was originally built in 1905, is eligible for state funding assistance to build a new middle school. The school district would be responsible for a local share of the cost, as previously reported.
East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee reported at this week’s school board meeting that the OSFC is not entirely finished with its planning phase process, and so the OSFC has not made a final determination on what specific share of the project’s cost the district would need to pay.
The OSFC did say it expects the district share would be in the 21 to 30 percent range, and probably closer to 30 percent, Magee said.
The OSFC, through which the state funds would be awarded, has said it would not take part in building a new middle school unless the project were for grades six through 12 because of the relatively small number of middle school students in the East Clinton district.
Representatives with OSFC have presented cost estimates for three options: build a middle school and renovate the high school at $15.5 million; renovate the middle school and bring it up to OSFC code at $11.3 million; or bring the district’s four school buildings up to OSFC code at almost $23 million.
Magee anticipates hearing relatively soon from OSFC on the specific percentage of the total cost that the East Clinton district would have to agree to as its share.
An existing bond levy will be paid off in 2017, and district voters may look more favorably at passing a new levy as the current one comes off, Magee has said previously.
During administrators’ reports to the board, Sabina Elementary School Principal Jennifer “Jennie” Pierson said they have started what’s called the Nurtured Heart Approach at the school. According to the difficultchild.com website, the approach began 20 years ago as a method for treating children labeled as challenging, difficult or intense — including those with diagnoses such as ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Autism, PTSD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and more.
“Our students are ever-changing every year. It gets different. So we have a lot of social and emotional needs we need to meet,” said Pierson.
This year, she added, there were several students who staff “really needed some help with.”
During a planned in-service day in March, staff will receive an “entire presentation” on the approach, Pierson said.
Another new thing at Sabina Elementary will be a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program in kindergarten.
East Clinton Middle School Principal Robbin Luck reported the school, for the first time to her knowledge, will send five participants to the regional Power of the Pen competition.
Crossroads Hospice, said Luck, has visited two times with several middle school students identified for extra grief counseling. The students have lost parents, grandparents or close friends, the principal said.
The Hospice organization met with two groups of eight students, and Luck said she believes they were effective in helping students understand the grief process and opening up.
Cynthia Saylor reported there will be six Family and Consumer Sciences classes offered next school year at the high school. For ninth- and 10th-grade students, there will be a course called Transition in Careers and Personal Wellness and Development, and for 11th and 12th graders there will be a Career and College Readiness class.
In addition, classes in Principles of Food, Culinary Fundamentals, Human Growth and Development, and Textiles (design and construction) will be offered.
In other news:
• The board approved a purchase of new marching band uniforms. The uniforms will cost about $21,465 and the money will come out of the district’s Permanent Improvement fund.
• The district recently added a school resource officer, Clinton County Sheriff’s Deputy David Boris, who is certified both as a school resource officer and for D.A.R.E.
• Varsity basketball coach Tony Berlin, who has been ill, has asked that an assistant coach, Roger Earley, receive half of Berlin’s salary for the 2015-16 basketball season. The board approved the request, and board Vice President Tim Starkey commended Berlin for the action.
• Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost announced Thursday that East Clinton Local School District received the Auditor of State Award for clean audit reports.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.