ROSS TWP. —
Ross Local Schools has worked out a financing plan for its project to renovate Morgan Elementary School, with work expected to begin this year and be complete by 2014.
The total project cost is $10 million and will entail making numerous additions to the building, as well as renovations of existing facilities. The state is paying for $6.7 million of that total, leaving the district to pay for $3.3 million, said Treasurer Christine Cook Poetter.
Ross will pay for the bulk of its share through $2 million from its permanent improvement fund, which leaves $1.3 million to finance, which the district will do over the next three years, with an estimated annual payment of $464,997, according to the treasurer.
A recent change in the law allows school districts to transfer monies from the bond fund to the permanent improvement fund, and that worked out to the district’s advantage.
“It’s like the law was written just for Ross,” Poetter said.
Work on Morgan is slated to begin this summer, said Superintendent Greg Young. The additions to the building are for spaces that currently do not meet Ohio School Facilities Commission guidelines. These include enlarging the cafeteria and kitchen, new music and art rooms, plus a larger office area. New safety systems, including sprinklers and fire alarms, will be installed to bring the building up to code.
The project is expected to be complete by December 2014, though the district hopes to get it done as early as August that same year. While Morgan is being renovated, its students will attend classic in the district office building, which was also the former middle school.
The project will be completed without having to draw from the general fund, and “essentially, we’re going to build a building without going back to the taxpayers for additional dollars,” Young said.
The Morgan project caps off a lengthy renovation throughout Ross, which began back in 2001. The district passed a bond issue in 2002, and a new high school opened in 2005. Renovation work at Ross Middle School and Elda Elementary School was completed last year.