Local voters should find out in June how much support they'll be asked to put behind plans to rebuild Upper Arlington High School and its athletics facilities, as well as enhance and enlarge five district elementary buildings.
The Upper Arlington Board of Education plans to hold the first of two votes June 6 to approve ballot language for an expected operating levy and capital projects-and-improvements bond. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Upper Arlington Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.
The final vote, which would put the measure on the Nov. 7 ballot, is expected to follow at an 8 a.m. meeting June 28 at the district office, 1950 N. Mallway Drive.
Thus far, indicators point to an 8.92-mill combined operating levy and bond issue.
That's the path recommended by Superintendent Paul Imhoff and Treasurer Andrew Geistfeld, as well as a financial advisory board made up of 10 private-sector executives and professionals with experience in funding large-scale public projects.
As recommended, a 3.75-mill levy would generate approximately $6.3 million in additional annual revenue for day-to-day operations, such as teacher salaries, instructional and pupil support, technology and transportation.
A 5.17-mill bond issue, to be collected over 38 years, would generate approximately $230 million.
That money, plus a targeted minimum of $5 million in private donations, would fund reconstruction of the high school and its athletics facilities and renovations or reconstructions of each of the district's five elementary schools.
According to the district, the combined levy-bond package would increase overall property taxes by 14 percent, based on current tax rates.
That would result in an increase of $312 per $100,000 of home valuation annually, as determined by the county auditor. The owner of a $400,000 home would pay an additional $1,249 in property taxes each year, according to the district.
The recommendations came May 9, after district officials spent more than two years working with facilities designers, the financial advisory board and the community to plan upgrades to its nine school buildings, which average more than 63 years in age.
"It's a full-court press now," board President Robin Comfort said.
"This is two and a half years of bringing our schools to where they need to be so our facilities can reflect the instruction."
Under a master plan accepted by the board, work and funding for repairs to the district's two middle schools and Burbank Early Childhood School, tentatively estimated to cost approximately $53.2 million, would be delayed for 10 years.
"The high school was in the (master plan's) first phase just because the physical needs of the high school are immediate," Imhoff said.
He said the elementary schools were included in the first phase because interest rates could rise in 10 years and it would be more expensive to take on those five building projects then. Projected enrollment also could force students at those schools into temporary classrooms in "trailers" if upgrades are delayed, Imhoff said.
Other details of the master plan's first phase, which the board unanimously approved May 9, include proceeding with the reconstruction of a four-story UAHS on Zollinger Road and moving the school's football stadium south along Mount Holyoke Road.
Imhoff said Upper Arlington public-safety officials recommended the location for the high school, at an estimated cost of approximately $142.1 million, over a proposal to build it on Brandon Road, at an estimated cost of $137 million.
"Our community and Upper Arlington safety officials strongly agree that locating a 2,000-student high school on Zollinger, a main road, instead of Brandon, a one-way road, makes the most sense from a safety standpoint," Imhoff said.
The district also hopes to build softball and baseball diamonds and a turf field for $1.8 million on district-owned land behind Tremont Elementary and adjacent to Northam Park. However, it doesn't intend to partner with the city of Upper Arlington to fund the project, as initially discussed.
Additionally, the FAB, district administrators and the school board agreed not to spend bond money to repair or renovate the district's central office at 1950 N. Mallway Drive and instead will consider selling the property to help pay for office space in a renovated or rebuilt school.