ELIDA — Voters in the Elida school district will be considering a new tax to pay for construction of a new elementary school. It’s a 2.8-mill bond issue, with an additional .50-mill permanent improvement property tax. The levy would all be contained as one vote when people go to the ballot May 8.
“The cost of the project is roughly about $36 million. It would be split almost in a 50-50 split with the state where the state would put forth $18.1 million. The local funding would be $17.9 million. Part of that comes from the credit the district is receiving from having built the high school project, previously, which was all done with local funds at the time. So there’s about an $8 million credit that’s coming over from building that building early on that we would like to take advantage of,” said Elida Superintendent Joel Mengerink.
To repair or replace…
Many detractors want to see repairs done instead.
“Elida is always coming after us for tax levies. I’ve questioned for years about the possibility of remodeling or adding on, something a little more economical,” said Ralph Everson, who lives in the Elida school district.
Mengerink says the idea is something they’ve considered.
“You could look at doing those things but when you take and put them all together and couple that with the age of it and you’re getting into a project that’s looking at probably $25 [million] to $28 million, and that’s not even adding any space onto the building. Right now, we’re completely out of space district-wide. We’ve got students in modular buildings, which obviously isn’t the best learning condition for them, and not to mention the security concerns that come with that, as well. Not only is it impacted here, but it’s impacted for students at the middle school because we also have two modular buildings over there because that building has no space, and we have pre-schoolers that attend our high school building,” said Mengerink.
Because of the age of the building and difficulty in maintaining it, Mengerink believes tearing down and building new is the way to go.
“I think when you look at the physical structure of the building, obviously you’re dealing with an old building. It was originally dedicated back in 1963. So, we’re getting to the point where the infrastructure with this building is at the end of its useful life. The boiler system’s original to the building. Our windows are all single-paned windows, which also had lots of leaking around them. The roof is at the end of its useful life. So when you throw all of those things together, coupled that with we do have pretty good technology in our building for what we have, but certainly a new facility is going to give us state-of-the-art everything, [such as] air handlers to get air moving throughout the building, which makes things more comfortable to sit in and learn in but it also helps those students that have health conditions with allergies or whatever the case may be,” said Joel Mengerink, superintendent of Elida Local Schools.
More space is needed
“A new building would give us the capability of bringing our pre-schoolers into the elementary and bring our fifth-graders over from the middle school, so it would open up space in all those buildings and it would give plenty of space here at the elementary as well,” said Mengerink.
“We need a new updated space that has more space for our students, more space for learning. We have some intervention specialists and related service staff that are working in closets with students. The ways of education have changed, so we just really need space for our students to learn,” said Michelle Allison, principal of Elida Elementary School.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.