Licking County News

Licking Heights to add six modulars at high school

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The Licking Heights school board on June 10 voted 5-0 to purchase six refurbished modular classrooms for Licking Heights High School.

"We're well over capacity in that building," Superintendent Philip Wagner said. "Modulars are a good temporary solution."

The total purchase price for the used modulars, which were built in 2001, is $235,000.

Wagner said Licking Heights High School's capacity is 900 students, but the district expects 1,050 high school students this fall.

He said the district had no choice but to purchase modulars.

Wagner said the modulars would be in place at the high school by July 31, well before the first day of classes.

The modulars will house foreign-language classes. Video surveillance also was upgraded to monitor the modulars for security.

Wagner said purchasing the modulars outright rather than leasing them made more sense financially.

The district has a 2.86-mills bond request on the Aug. 5 ballot. If approved, funds from the bond issue would be used to build a new high school and allow the district to provide all-day kindergarten.

The bond issue would raise $26,575,000 in local funds with the expectation that the state will provide another $21 million to $30 million for the construction project. It would cost homeowners roughly $99 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value.

If a new high school is built, Wagner said, the six modulars likely would be sold to another district. However, the need for them is immediate.

"We know we have to (purchase modulars) short term," he said.

He said although modulars are bad long-term investments, the district might need to purchase up to a dozen more units during the next three years to handle expanded enrollment, for a total of 18 modulars.

Wagner said new and upgraded facilities are far better long-term investments.

Modular classrooms have many disadvantages, Wagner said: They do not have restrooms and they are not attached to other buildings.

They also are completely electric, he said.

Natural gas heats the school buildings and is much more efficient than electric heat, Wagner said.

He said modulars would cost the district significantly more money in energy expenses over the long term.

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