Even if the existing Franklin Heights High School building is demolished, South-Western City Schools plans to salvage its auditorium.

Even if the existing Franklin Heights High School building is demolished, South-Western City Schools plans to salvage its auditorium.

That project is part of a larger facilities program for which the district is attempting to secure funding. In addition to replacing FHHS, the SWCS project would build 13 new elementary schools and make minor renovations to Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools.

The district's 38-year, $148-million bond issue, at 2.9 mills, will appear on the March 6 ballot and is designed to raise money to qualify the district for participation in an Ohio School Facilities Commission project.

School officials said because SWCS is retiring other debt, tax collection rates would not increase if the issue is passed.

Districts participating in OSFC have to pay half the construction costs; OSFC pays the other half.

In 2008, when SWCS originally attempted OSFC participation, salvaging the FHHS auditorium was the most viable option, said Mark Waller, district coordinator of property services.

"That's still the same today," he said.

The new high school building would be located in the parking area next to the existing building. The auditorium could be adjacent to the new building, or the new building could be built around the auditorium, Waller said.

The auditorium was completed in 1957, Waller said, as an addition to the high school building. Seating 969 people, it's the largest auditorium in the district. In 1999, the auditorium underwent a partial remodeling that included painting, soundproofing, stage lighting improvements, new seats and carpeting and stage refinishing.

"It's really a nice space," Waller said.

A new auditorium seating only about 500 would cost the district $1.5 million to build, Waller said. State funding wouldn't cover any of the cost.

It is yet to be determined if North Franklin Elementary and the consolidated East Franklin and Finland elementary schools can be built on their current sites.

East Franklin and Finland will be merged because OSFC will invest only in buildings with at least 300 students, district superintendent Bill Wise said. East Franklin has about 243 students, while Finland has 311. The district hasn't determined on which site the new building will be built.

Pending soil tests, the district plans to build all other buildings at their current sites, said Sandy Nekoloff, executive director of communications.

If Issue 8 is approved in March, the district can break ground in 2013 and begin opening buildings in 2014.