JOHNSTOWN, Ohio (WCMH) — Northridge Local Schools new elementary school is expected to cost about $24 million.
“This is huge for the district and will definitely position us well for the future,” said Northridge Local Schools Superintendent Scott Schmidt referring to the process of building the new school in a district of 1,200 students.
The haul has been long and frustrating for the Northridge Schools administrative staff.
Five straight ballot initiatives and the voters continually denied a construction bond and operating levies.
The initial vote was a loss by 19%.
The district persisted and kept placing the issue on the ballot every May and November. That is until this past May. The district received 1,466 votes for the tax and 1,204 against.
Finally, the measure had passed.
“We had a 55% approval rating and we are so thankful to the community,” Schmidt said. “To see the kids, the next day was just amazing. They were full of energy and excited.”
Since that day on May 7, the district has been working to get a syllabus of sorts together to begin the process of replacing its elementary school.
The aged building has peeling paint, chipped plaster, plumbing issues, and no air-conditioning.
The funding breakdown for the construction project is $22 million from the bond issue, $1 million in potential state funding, and almost a million dollars from the permanent improvement levy.
“This is a huge mark. The community is still talking about when the high school was built in 1996,” said Schmidt.
Schmidt was asked if this project would be a big deal on his tenure as superintendent and he would not address anything that he has done in his leadership role. Instead, he gave credit to various teams and professionals.
“We had a group of levy parents who worked so hard,” Schmidt said. “The staff and the creative team, and the board of education.”
Now the work falls to narrowing down the blueprints, elevation, amenities. Ultimately, this is a no-frills type of building. That brings frustration during weekly small group meetings with the engineers and construction company.
“How do we strike a balance when were making small adjustments for financial purposes,” Schmidt said. “You also don’t want to be too narrowly minded in what we know and believe today.”
Yes, they have to plan for the future and keep the school ready for change. But everything has a cost, especially when planning for the future.
“The overwhelming part is that there are decisions that have to be made and you know that is going to have a lasting impact in the future,” said Schmidt.
The building is expected to be completed by August of 2021.
The district will have an unveiling of the floor plan and elevation at the beginning of August. You can see the plans at their booth during the Hartford Fair.