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Tough Choices Looming After Bond Issue Defeat

School board will take time to consider several options

After of the proposed $32 million bond issue to build a new , the is going to take some time before deciding which path to take next, board president Kevin Romanchok said Wednesday.

When the bond issue went down in , the board had just a few weeks to get it on the March primary ballot.

Whatever is eventually decided on -- whether it's the same bond issue, a modified version of it, or a bond issue to do additions and improvements to the existing middle school -- it will not go up for a vote until the November election, Romanchok said.

That means the district has time to talk with the community, get input from its architect, and talk with each other. A decision will likely be made sometime in the spring in order to have everything in order for a bond issue to go on the November ballot.

Ultimately, Romanchok said, the decision comes down to sticking with what the board believes is the best long-term decision, building new, or working with the exisiting middle school.

"Some people think we can just slap some classrooms on and that's all we need to do," Romanchok said. "There's much more to consider than just that."

Challenges and solutions

First, there's what to do in the immediate future. Projected growth figures have the middle school population jumping from around 620 to 710 by the 2014-15 school year, Romanchok said. That's when there is no more room to hold the students in the current building.

Trailers are a possibility. Cutting the library in half and using one of the halves for a classroom is one proposed solution. Even using the existing cafeteria and gymnasium as classroom space is on the table, Romanchok said.

Eighth-graders could be temporarily moved to the high school, Romanchok said. But the longest that could go on is two years before projected growth makes the high school over capacity with the eighth-graders there.

Hard decisions

One of the big factors in the decision will be looking at the current middle school from a cost-benefit point of view. At some point, maintenance and repairs on older buildings like the middle school and become cost prohibitive, Romanchok said.

"We have to see how much heating, plumbing and electrical we can put on the exisiting infrastructure," he said. "These are buildings in the last decades of their useful lifespan. Sooner rather than later, their systems are going to start failing."

Avon Middle School was built in 1956. Village Elementary was built around 1925.

If the district decides to work with the existing middle school, it will also have to address the too-small cafeteria that forces the school to have four lunch periods. The lack of bathrooms are another issue. And traffic flow is a huge problem. Hallways are so crowded between classes, students often cannot open their lockers to get books and supplies.

Then there's the matter of and elementary schools. Both are crowded now and, if a new middle school isn't built where sixth-graders currently at Heritage North could go, an addition will need to be built there as well, Romanchok said.

Whatever the decision is, Romanchok said, the district will have to go to the voters for the money to make it happen.

"We have to do something," he said. "Doing nothing is not an option."

Terry Kraus March 08, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Glen - I totally agree. We have been a supporter of the levy the past several times that it failed. I feel that maybe more of us need to ask how we (including me) could help get the word out about the city of Avon needing a new Middle School. I do know Dr. Koehler and he is a most excellent individual and is totally dedicated to the students, staff and school district. We are lucky to have him, as well as Mrs. Buller, watching over are older children. It's a little more difficult sometimes to find principals who can motivate and relate with adolescents and teenagers. My younger child graduates from High School this year, but that doesn't blind me to the needs of our school system and the long-term implications to our property values if no action is taken soon. Maybe people could take a field trip to our Middle School (since you may not be allowed just to walk into the school for security reasons on a regular school day... go watch a volleyball game or basketball game that is open to the public) and then go watch a game at the neighboring Middle Schools in Avon Lake, Bay Village, Rocky River, Midview, etc. Aside from less crowding, they all have better facilities for lockers/privacy, media, library (ours is nearly non-existent because class rooms have been inserted into the space) and science labs - just to name a few items. Definitely never go to school between class periods - you will get trampled!
Tim E March 08, 2012 at 09:15 PM
How about full disclosure of the operating costs for starters. Listen once you build it, there are costs that come with it. Disclose the full cost to the voters. At the end of the day this has failed twice. The people have spoken. Our kids will not fail due to the size and shape of a building and our already pullmented property values can go no lower. What makes a school disctrict good are the combination of the kids, teachers and parents. No building I was ever in had any impact on my education. Finally what are the projections for kids that are 1,2 and 3 years old right now in Avon? Do we have a blip and are building for a blip or will this be sustained for many many years. I don't see that level of analysis here. I am all for a plan B at this point.
Glen Heitkamp March 08, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Good points Tim along with all the other posts. I am guilty in not attending meetings because of work. Maybe they can schedule a couple meetings on the same week including weekends so we can attend. It would really be cool if we can submit questions ahead of time and present a ppt on the top 100 questions. ( the questions would be posted on the patch to make sure they answer the most popular questions). But like I said before, I support a new school and I think the votes are there to win
Glen Heitkamp March 08, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Oh yea. I left out that I hope to see you at one of these meetings because you seem concerned and intelligent. Hopefully we can both learn from it
Tim E March 08, 2012 at 11:53 PM
By the way I disagree about the long term affects of our property values. The effect high property taxes has on housing is to drive the value down. Case in point read this. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2814601/posts We ought to be smart about this and understand the long term (greater then 10 years )need before we committ ourselves to a big mortage being pushed to us by construcution insiders who want a piece of the action.

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