Troy: What to do about old schools?

Troy renews exploration of school options.

The Troy City Schools Board of Education has renewed discussions about the fate of aging elementary buildings and the overall maintenance of the district school facilities.

“In my mind, you have older buildings and at some time have to do something about them,” Superintendent Eric Herman told the board during a January work session that included updates on various topics.

Herman shared with the board a packet of information about the size, age, available space, detailed assessments of conditions and needs at each of the district’s nine buildings. The information, he said, was intended to help focus as “our conversation needs to move forward.”

Among documents was one looking at instructional space in the buildings. All of the elementary schools (grades through six) were listed as “full,” including one building where the computer lab was removed to make way for classroom space. The junior high and high school listed one available classroom in each.

The district has a permanent improvement levy that generates around $700,000 a year and also spends another $225,000 to $250,000 a year for maintenance projects in addition to permanent improvements, district Treasurer Jeff Price said.

An assessment of building needs showed more than $119 million in projected renovation costs or $45 million for HVAC, plumbing and electric renovations. The latter estimate included no brick and mortar or roof work.

The district’s call for something to be done about buildings is not new.

The board last year sought approval of a 4.61-mill bond issue for two new schools to house prekindergarten through grade six students on land the district proposed to buy off Ohio 55 at Nashville Road. The funding plan included 33 percent state funding.

The bond issue was rejected by 60 percent of voters in November.

Following the January board discussion, Herman announced he would be retiring this summer.

Doug Trostle, board of education president, said the facilities review would continue as the board embarks on the effort to find a new superintendent.

“The challenges of maintaining our buildings will continue to be one of our top priorities. Districts throughout the state, who have not already updated their facilities, are having the same discussions,” he said.

“While the board recognizes the critical needs of our district, we also realize the community must share in our concern and be engaged in the identification of any long-term solution. We will continue to evaluate how we might update our facilities to enhance the educational opportunities for all of our students,” Trostle said. “ I am confident both our current and future superintendent will enthusiastically participate in this process.”

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