The Johnstown-Monroe Local School District will focus on facility projects this year, while the Northridge Local School District will go back to voters in May seeking additional money to build an elementary school.

The Johnstown-Monroe Local School District will focus on facility projects this year, while the Northridge Local School District will go back to voters in May seeking additional money to build an elementary school.

Johnstown-Monroe Superintendent Dale Dickson said the district expects to finish the new K-5 school in August, while the new high school should be ready for students in January or February 2018.

"At the same time, we have renovations to finish in the performing arts center and high school," he said. "We tried to address the envelope and structure, then came back and dealt with the guts -- plumbing, water and sewer lines, HVAC."

Dickson said the renovation projects have been time-consuming.

"The aesthetics aren't there yet," he said. "We'll do some of the work when Schooley Caldwell Architects' bonded part is done. We hope to do some work ourselves to finish that building off."

He said the stage floor of the PAC will be refinished and the walls will be painted.

"People will be able to see the difference," Dickson said.

He said it hasn't been determined what will happen to the Adams Middle School building.

"There's emotional attachment since it used to be the old high school," Dickson said. "I appreciate old buildings, but that building is pretty far gone."

He said it sits on a 15-acre site that is valuable.

"As we grow, I think it will make sense to keep it," Dickson said. "If (Adams) is torn down, it would provide an area for a building of some sort. It would be a good location for the future."

He said the board has a decision to make about the building. If it's torn down, Dickson said, he would like some architectural features preserved such as a cornerstone or archway.

"Those are ideas in my mind," he said. "We have been so involved in construction, it hasn't been addressed."

Dickson said state funds would be available to raze both the Oregon Elementary School and Adams buildings.

The district will be out of Oregon in August. Dickson said Adams could be razed in the summer of 2018.

"For the taxpayer, I think it's more prudent to raze those buildings," he said.

Dickson said the board office could move to a section of the Searfoss Elementary School building or a grade or two could be housed there, if growth happens before the district can pass a ballot issue.

"Our goal is not to have it as a burden to taxpayers," he said.

Dickson said the current board office, with the 1950s shag carpet, isn't what leaders want as the face of the district.

He said safety is always a priority for the schools, and the district will continue to look at ways to make its buildings and grounds safe.

Dickson said the district also is revamping its website, a process that should be complete by Aug. 1.

"We need to make it more user-friendly," he said.

He said district's principals are also on the front lines dealing with curriculum.

"We'll focus on what we can control and look for effective ways to know where students are and where they need to be," Dickson said.

Northridge's Plan for Progress

Northridge Local Schools Superintendent Chris Briggs said the focus for the Vikings will be the Plan for Progress during 2017-18.

The plan includes addressing district needs in finances, facilities and academics.

"With the failure of our bond issue in November, the administration and board has listened to our community and we have made adjustments based on feedback from our voters," Briggs said.

"The facility needs for our district have not gone away and will only become more challenging if not addressed immediately."

He said the district expects to be back on the ballot in May with a combined property tax and income tax option.

The combination will consist of 2.84-mill property tax and 0.75 percent income tax option for a new pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade building and additional permanent improvement items needed on the district's learning campus.

Briggs said the board should finalize numbers at its Jan. 17 meeting, with firm details available by the end of the month.

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