Now that Whitehall City Schools have the official backing of district residents, the real work can begin to make room for more students.

Steps toward the construction of an addition to Rosemore Middle School already are underway after voters Nov. 6 approved a 3.41-mill combined permanent-improvement levy and bond issue.

District officials were scheduled to meet Nov. 13 with construction and finance experts "to begin crafting a timeline to complete all the projects within the levy and (identify) the best financing plan," district Treasurer Steve McAfee said.

In addition to more space at Rosemore, the projects will include replacing grass with artificial turf at the Whitehall-Yearling High School football stadium.

District officials also soon will meet with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to discuss its contribution of $5.7 million toward construction at Rosemore.

In 2008, Whitehall voters approved a $23 million bond issue as part of an agreement with the commission that completed a $78 million project to rebuild all five schools in the district.

Through a similar agreement, Whitehall will receive financial assistance from the commission after Whitehall voters approved the combination levy and bond issue.

Hamler said the district will collaborate with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission "to design a next-generation learning environment of which we can all be proud."

Educational spaces and new theater lighting will be added at Whitehall-Yearling High School and a new HVAC system will be installed at Kae Avenue Elementary School, Hamler said.

Voters approved Issue 8 by a tally of 2,942 votes to 1,879, or 61 to 39 percent, according to final, unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Superintendent Brian Hamler said he is pleased voters agreed with leaders' assessment that the district was in dire need of additional classroom space.

"We appreciate the community's confidence in us and their continued support ... voters approved (a levy) to give our children the educational spaces they deserve.

"I couldn't be more pleased and proud of the results. When the schools win, we all win," Hamler said.

District officials couldn't say how long it will take to complete the projects.

"It's too soon to commit to an end date for all of the projects as we need to complete the planning process first," McAfee said. "But the sooner we can make these improvements and add the instructional spaces for our growing enrollment, the better."

The 3.41-mill issue will increase homeowners' annual property-tax bills by $119 per $100,000 in property valuation. A district homeowner currently pays $1,364 annually per $100,000 in property valuation, according to district officials.

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