LEES CREEK — East Clinton will have a bond issue on the November ballot to fund construction of a new middle school building and to renovate the high school and two elementaries.
If voters pass the bond levy, the state of Ohio will provide 53 percent of the dollars for the co-funded portion of the project. Local dollars would be required to cover the remaining 47 percent, plus any local initiatives as determined by the board of education.
Design for a new middle school building will include up-to-date security procedures and processes — something “of utmost importance,” said East Clinton Local Schools Superintendent Eric Magee.
Moreover, classroom spaces will be equipped with technology that will allow for the most effective learning environment possible, Magee said.
The original portion of the middle school was built in 1905. School officials say the middle school structure has plumbing and electrical issues that would be very costly to remedy in a way that would bring them up to today’s standards.
“Putting more money into a building that was constructed in 1905 would be a Band-Aid fix to a much larger problem,” said the superintendent.
The present three-floor middle school does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), school district officials said.
“Equipping the current building to the point of bringing it up to current [ADA] standards would cost several millions of dollars, and we’d still be in an old building with plumbing and electrical issues,” said Magee.
Substantial renovations at the other three buildings in the district will also include security upgrades.
“Securing our facilities has been priority number 1 when discussing the possibilities with the state and their engineers and architects,” Magee added.
These other three buildings would also see upgrades in available technologies to use in the classroom.
These buildings, which are now 20 years old, will have new roofing installed, as well as new HVAC (heating, venting, and air conditioning) systems and kitchen equipment, “all of which will need to be replaced over the coming years with or without the state’s share of 53 percent,” the superintendent said.
The high school would get about four new classrooms because the project includes the removal of the corridor that joins the middle and high schools, and several high school classes are held in the corridor. A new band room is part of the project, too.
The total millage of the tax issue is 6.2 mills — which combines 5.7 mills for the bond and 0.5 mill to pay the cost of maintaining the classroom facilities included in the project.
The bond that built the three newer buildings has been paid in full. Those taxes were removed from local taxpayers in January 2018.
East Clinton has set aside approximately $2 million cash on hand to try and keep the tax burden of the project as low as possible for the communities in the East Clinton district, said Magee.
The bond levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 residential property about $216 annually.
Duration of the bond is set at 28 years.
District Treasurer John Stanley said the ballot language will be confusing in one respect, and voters should know that the district’s elementary buildings would remain preschool through fifth grade, and the middle and high schools at the Lees Creek campus would remain grades 6 through 12.
If the bond levy passes, the hope is to have the new middle school ready for students in August 2021.
Magee said, “The communities of East Clinton have been extremely supportive for the district. And the board and myself would like to express gratitude for that support that’s provided to the district and most importantly provided to our students and for the needs that they have.
“We will continue to work hard for those students, and not only in the classroom, but to work hard to spend the funding that’s allotted to us wisely and in a way that will sustain East Clinton long past the time when we’re here and gone,” the superintendent said.
There will be public meetings for residents to learn more about the bond levy, with dates to be determined. If anybody has questions or concerns, Magee said they’re welcome to contact him (937-584-2461 ext. 60101).
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.