Through the support of our community and the passage of Issue 7 in the Nov. 6 general election, the South-Western City School District will be able to renovate or replace its five oldest buildings and complete some additional roofing and asphalt work -- at no additional annual cost to taxpayers.

When this second segment of our Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project is completed, more than 18,000 of our roughly 22,000 students will be attending classes in facilities that were constructed or renovated since the year 2000.

This is a significant step forward for our children and our community.

As times continue to change, so do the needs of the students we have the opportunity to serve.

Technology, safety and security, and appropriate learning spaces are the features that are the most apparent to visitors in the updated facilities. Lighting, air quality, air conditioning and a host of engineering miracles are not as obvious, but they make these updated facilities more efficient and economical to operate than in the past.

Our goal as the new buildings are designed is for the structure to disappear from the users' consciousness as they go about their activities. The structure should serve to support teaching and learning and not create an obstacle to performance.

The elementary buildings that were completed during Segment 1 of our overall project are a great example.

Our community and staff engagement process yielded a vision of elementary schools that center on flexibility. As a result, students in grades 1-4 can receive one-on-one, small-group, whole-classroom, shared-classroom, or entire grade-level instruction without moving more than 25 steps from their desk. This saves transition time and allows for instruction to be tailored to the specific learning needs of students.

We invest significant time in planning for replacement and renovation of buildings. From the placement of outlets to the pitch of the roof, we take time to learn about the most current trends and refine our past decisions to deliver the best possible learning environment for our students.

We believe our planning process is a large part of the reason we have been able to complete our construction projects on time and under budget.

Over the next year, we will be meeting with our Ohio Facilities Construction Commission partners, securing our financing, selecting our architect and choosing our construction professionals.

Once completed, the design process will begin in earnest. Design should take approximately 18 months followed by two years of construction.

Although it will be a while before the heavy equipment is on site, our goal is to deliver another on-time and under budget project of which we are all proud.

Bill Wise is the superintendent of the South-Western City School District.