Space issues and outdated infrastructure are some of the problems plaguing South-Western City Schools buildings being considered for replacement.

Space issues and outdated infrastructure are some of the problems plaguing South-Western City Schools buildings being considered for replacement.

Possible funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission's Classroom Facilities Assistance Program most likely would be used to replace Franklin Heights High School and all but two elementary schools; Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementaries would receive minor renovations.

Project participation hinges on an update of the district's 2008 master facilities plan and approval of a bond issue.

The School Facilities Commission's report said if SWCS receives state funding, the projects' total cost would be at least $207,354,884. SWCS would pay half that amount, and the bond issue would provide the funds.

The buildings considered for replacement "share a common theme of overall deficiencies," facilities coordinator Mark Waller said. "It only makes sense to replace them."

He said the district's buildings are safe, but the district wants to meet today's building standards and accommodate current technology.

The OSFC normally recommends an existing structure be replaced when the cost of renovating the school building exceeds two-thirds of the cost of a new facility of the same size.

Buildings are scored using a rating system that includes 28 different criteria, Waller said. Buildings that receive a score of 66 percent or higher are recommended for replacement.

In 2008, the elementaries up for replacement received an average score of about 70 percent. None of the structures has received significant improvements since then, Waller said. In 2008, Franklin Heights received a score of 71 percent, a score that would increase by today's standards just by virtue of inflation.

None of the buildings considered for replacement has air conditioning, Waller said. Some of the buildings have exterior shells that date to the original structure. Seven out of the 14 elementaries considered for replacement have their original windows.

"That's a significant energy loss," Waller said.

Franklin Heights is about 135,000 square feet and serves about 1,164 students, Waller said. The building is 30 percent smaller than Westland and Grove City high schools and about half the size of Central Crossing High School.

Franklin Heights was built in 1955. Grove City and Westland high schools were built in 1970, and Central Crossing High School was built in 2002.

The three high schools other than Franklin Heights have air conditioning. While Franklin Heights' windows were replaced in the late 1980s, "those windows are no longer thermally efficient compared to today's windows, Waller said.

Waller described Franklin Heights' cafeteria as dark, undersized and cramped.

Since the space isn't large enough to support everyone during lunch, some students spend part of their lunch period in the gym after they've finished eating.

"It's not a pleasant sight," Waller said.

The building has very limited handicapped accessibility. Water and steam pipes are in very poor condition, Waller said.

Waller said Franklin Heights also has a large portion of roof that's due for replacement. The partial roof replacement project would cost $1.6 million and take 10 years to complete.

A closer look

South-Western City Schools being considered for replacement (listed with the year in which each was built) are:

• Holton Hall Elementary, 1960.

• Darbydale Elementary, 1958.

• East Franklin Elementary, 1956.

• Finland Elementary, 1964.

• Highland Park Elementary, 1969.

• Harmon Elementary, 1950.

• Monterey Elementary, 1956.

• North Franklin Elementary, 1920.

• Prairie Lincoln Elementary, 1956.

• Prairie Norton Elementary, 1950.

• Richard Avenue Elementary, 1957.

• J.C. Sommer Elementary, 1956.

• Stiles Elementary, 1963.

• Franklin Heights High School, 1955.