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Woodridge begins study of facility needs

11/28/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Board also agrees to put 10-year renewal levy on May ballot

PENINSULA — The Woodridge Local School District comprises four school buildings, two of which are very old.

With the exception of Woodridge Middle School, which was built in 1995, the schools are all more than 50 years old, according to district officials.

The Primary School was built in 1928 and the Intermediate School in 1930, according to Superintendent Walter Davis. The high school is 52 years old.

One of the Board of Education’s goals is to develop a comprehensive facilities plan to bring the schools up to date and to deal with buildings that are crowded due to the district’s continually increasing enrollment. Board members set this in motion at the Nov. 19 meeting by approving a contract with Braun & Steidl Architects to develop recommendations for a master plan to present to the board.

Architect Charles Schreckenberger, of Braun & Steidl, and Chuck Warner, a consultant and educational planner with Warner Concepts LLC, explained they will evaluate the conditions of all the buildings in relation to the district’s goals and current and future educational needs.

They will gather data beginning in December, taking into account demographics, projected enrollment and student needs. They also will look at the cost of replacing new vs. repairing to bring the facilities up to current requirements, said Schreckenberger.

Warner said an important part of the assessment will be community involvement. It’s very important the resulting master plan “is community-driven,” he said.

Any Woodridge community members interested in serving on a facilities committee are asked to call the district’s administrative office at 330-928-9074 soon. The consultants hope to have a list of volunteers by the board’s next meeting Dec. 10.

The data gathering in December and January will be followed by a series of committee meetings and two community dialogues, in February and April. The plan is to present the master facility recommendations to the school board in May, Warner said.

In other business, Treasurer Deanna Levenger explained the district’s need to put a renewal levy on the ballot in 2014.

In May 2009, the board combined two levies that were both up for renewal into one five-year, 11.38-mill emergency operating levy. That levy expires in 2014. If it is renewed in 2014, the district would be in the black through 2017-18, Levenger said.

If it is not renewed, based on current assumptions, the district would be $3.5 million in the red by 2015-16 and $10.4 million in debt by the next year, she said.

For the district to collect on a levy in 2015, it must be approved by voters in 2014, Levenger said. Board members agreed to put a 10-year renewal emergency operating levy on the May 6, 2014, election ballot.

The board also approved allowing advertising on the back of the high school stadium bleachers. Athletic Director Nick Mayer had recommended working with Side Effects Inc., Davis said.

The company will sell “bleacher jersey” advertising space to sponsors the school district has approved, he said, at no cost to the district. In the fifth year of the 10-year agreement, the district will begin to receive a share of the advertising revenue, which will be used by the Athletic Department.

“I see no reason not to do it,” Davis said.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the library at Woodridge High School, 4440 Quick Road.

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