Career Center plans five-year expansion after levy narrowly passes

The Miami Valley Career Technology Center is about to embark on a huge, five-year campus makeover after voters narrowly approved a bond issue/tax levy Tuesday.

The margin was 50.8 percent in favor to 49.2 against, according to final, unofficial results.

Superintendent Nick Weldy said the project will allow MVCTC to improve training equipment and safety for students, while increasing capacity so the school no longer has to turn away hundreds of high school students looking for career training.

MVCTC serves about 1,500 high school students in dozens of fields ranging from carpentry to machining and computer coding to agriculture. The campus on the east side of Hoke Road in Clayton currently has numerous separate buildings, and school officials want to put more of the campus under one roof to improve safety.

RELATED: Voters rejected MVCTC issue in May

“Some of the infrastructure is in such bad shape that we’re going to have to knock parts of things down,” Weldy said. “Our goal is to have fewer buildings, with more square footage.”

Weldy said MVCTC will meet with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission next week to begin laying out the timeline of the project. Because voters approved local funding, the state will chip in $28.3 million toward the $158 million project.

“I think we’re going to spend probably a year just getting through design work and the paperwork hurdles. Then we’ll be ready to turn some dirt and get things moving,” Weldy said, adding that instruction and construction will happen at the same time. “Education does not stop. We have to ensure that we’re still doing that high-quality training while we’re building around the students.”

RELATED: 14 school levies on local ballots Tuesday

Weldy said employers have been urging the school to upgrade machining and welding equipment, and the new funding will allow them to do so.

The bond/tax levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $50 per year for the first 10 years, then $38 annually for years 11-30. Residents in the 27 school districts served by MVCTC — primarily in Montgomery, Miami, Darke and Preble counties — pay for the levy. School districts with their own, in-house career tech centers, such as Kettering and Dayton, are not taxed.

RELATED: MVCTC students win coding challenge

Weldy said enrollment might drop slightly during construction, but once the project is finished, he expects MVCTC to be able to serve 300 to 400 more students every year.

“With demand (for graduates) going up, our economic vitality in the region is only going to be limited by how many employees we can produce,” Weldy said.

RELATED: Details on incredibly tight Waynesville vote

Other levies

A bond issue to build a new school and community center in Waynesville appears headed for a recount. Election night results showed the Wayne Local Schools measure passing by two votes, but some provisional and absentee ballots could change that.

Troy and Preble Shawnee voters rejected bond issues to build new schools. The vote was 60-40 in Troy and 53-47 in Shawnee.

RELATED: Troy weighs next step after levy rejected

Beavercreek and Springboro voters approved substitute school levies, keeping tax rates the same, but making the levies permanent. The 6-mill Beavercreek levy, which voters rejected in May, passed by a 55-45 ratio this time. The 7.4-mill Springboro substitute levy, on the ballot for the first time, passed by a 51-49 ratio.

Traditional renewal school levies passed by wide margins across the region. Kettering, Vandalia-Butler and Miami East voters made those levies permanent, while Miamisburg, Milton-Union, Cedar Cliff and New Lebanon voters approved five-year renewals.

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