A little more than a dozen people showed up at Wednesday evening for a public forum on Issue 8, the proposed to build a new middle school.
A new middle school would solve several issues, said Scott Radcliffe, a member and part of Support Avon Schools, the levy support committee.
First, it would deal with a growing middle school population that will soon be too much for the existing middle school to handle.
"We're already running out of room," Avon Middle School principal Craig Koehler said.
If the levy passes in November, Radcliffe said, the middle school would be open for the 2014-15 school year. It would be built on a 46-acre property the district already owns on Long Road.
Once the middle school is built, Radcliffe said, the district could move the kindergarten from into the existing middle school.
"Village School has three floors and bathrooms only on one of them," said board member . The current middle school has been undergoing improvement projects in recent years, Radcliffe said, and can be updated for the simpler needs of a kindergarten.
The new middle school would be for grades six through eight, Radcliffe said. That would relieve crowding at and by moving the sixth grade from there to the middle school.
One resident wanted to know how the $32 million figure was chosen.
Radcliffe said it was based on consultation with architects, who calculated how many square feet, classrooms, bathrooms and other features would be needed. The preliminary estimate is that the building would have about 26 classrooms, not counting labs, and would be between 155,000 and 165,000 square feet. From there, they estimated how much it would cost to build that sort of space in the style of newer Avon schools such as Heritage North, Heritage South and .
No drawings or plans have been made yet, Radcliffe said. That would happen only if the levy passes.
"We want public input at that point," he said. "We'd have forums like this to get feedback, and hear what residents want."
One suggestion was going after grants for "green" building practices such as using geothermal, solar and wind energy. Radcliffe said that, if the levy passes, that is a possibility the district is very interested in looking into.
Another resident had concerns about traffic on Long Road, and that the city would have to pay for widening the road to accomodate bus traffic and more cars.
"That's something we'll work with the city on," Radcliffe said.
Treasurer Kent Zeman added there would be two entrances to the school on Long, and an entrance solely for buses off of Halsted.
Zeman said that it made economic sense to build now.
If Issue 8 is passed in November, the project can be put out for bid as construction companies are looking to get work for the new year, he said. That could lead to competitive bidding that could help keep the cost of the project down.
Interest rates are another advantage, he said.
"Three of four months ago, when we put together the levy proposal, interest rates were around 4.75 to 5 percent," he said. "Now, they're below 4.5 percent and they could drop more."