The Johnstown-Monroe Board of Education has taken the first step toward placing an issue on the May ballot to build two new schools and renovate the high school for middle school use.
During a special meeting Jan. 27, a community-based group recommended that the board place an issue before voters for a shared project with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission on a K-5 building at Leafy Dell, a new 9-12 building on the existing high school campus and a partially renovated high school for middle school use. The renovation would need to be locally funded.
Johnstown-Monroe would need to raise 71 percent of total costs locally, with the state contributing 29 percent for the shard building projects.
District treasurer Tammy Woods estimated $29.7 million would be spent on the district’s master plan for a new high school and elementary school, and $6.16 million would go toward the locally funded initiative to refurbish the high school and provide infrastructure needs for a total project cost of $35.86 million.
The high school renovation would include new heating and ventilation equipment, water and sewer improvements, electrical subpanels for electrical capacity to classrooms, technology upgrades, roof replacement at the library and performing-arts center, a secured vestibule entrance, new gym floor and bleachers.
Woods said the Licking County auditor would certify the proposed project costs and provide a millage amount for the board to consider during a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, in the high school library.
Facility group volunteer Dustin Calhoun said the recommendation is based on three community meetings, survey results and other conversations within the community.
“We felt this gave the best chance at passing,” he said.
Residents’ financial bottom line was kept in mind with the request, he said.
Calhoun said the figures provided during the community forums were strictly for buildings.
“We understand there will be money needed for traffic (improvements),” he said.
Jay Hazelbaker, a volunteer with the facility discussion group, said many residents who attended the meetings favored all new school buildings.
“We’re trying to balance the needs with the wants,” he said. “Trying to do all new might not be something the community at large would be behind. We felt it was a more responsible approach to recommend what we did.”
Acting Superintendent Dr. Nelson McCray said he was impressed with the Jan. 15 community meeting. He said every possible question was asked.
“You have a really good leadership team working with the community and board,” he said. “Congratulations for that effort so far.”
For more on this story, read the Feb. 2 edition of ThisWeek Johnstown Independent.