Tuesday, January 29, 2002

Middletown considers school building plan

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — Seven schools would be built over the next seven years and Middletown High School would be expanded under a $143 million master facilities plan presented Monday to the Board of Education.

        The plan would reduce the number of Middletown schools from 17 to 11.

        “The master facilities plan outlined in this report is an ambitious and exciting plan, perhaps what could become the most important undertaking in the history of Middletown,” said Tom Wiley, co-chairman of the school facilities committee.

        The plan calls for Creekview, Mayfield, McKinley, Rosedale, Wildwood and Wilson elementary schools to be torn down and new elementary schools to be built on their sites. Each school would be 77,274 square feet and be large enough to house 650 students in preschool through grade 6. The estimated cost for each structure is $10.8 million.

        And, a new middle school would be built on the site of Vail Middle School, which would be torn down except for the Wade E. Miller Gymnasium.

        All of the district's seventh- and eighth-graders would move to the 178,647-square-foot middle school, estimated to cost $25.8 million. Verity Middle School, now the second middle school, would be converted to an elementary school.

        Central Academy, Oneida, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Taft elementary schools would be torn down and not replaced, and the former Manchester Technical Center, now used by the high school, would be closed.

        Renovations are also planned for the Garfield Alternative Education Center, Amanda Elementary School and Middletown High School, which will get a 39,403-square-foot addition.

        Once the plan is fully implemented, the district would operate eight K-6 schools, each averaging 630 pupils; one middle school for grades 7 and 8; a high school for grades 9-12, and the Garfield Alternative Education Center, for grades 9-12.

        “We looked at seven different scenarios and all kinds of combinations before we agreed and settled on this one,” said Edmund Pokora, treasurer of the Middletown Schools, who worked on the facilities plan.

        The cost of the project would be split, with Ohio paying 26 percent, about $37.2 million, and the school board paying 76 percent, or about $106 million. It would take about 7 mills — or about $210 annually on a house with a market value of $100,000 — to pay the local share, Mr. Pokora said.

        School officials will spend the next two months explaining the plan to the community and getting reaction, Mr. Pokora said.


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