The Perrysburg City Schools Board of Education is considering a recommendation to build a seventh and eighth grade facility on the campus of the district's high school by 2018, a move that a facilities committee said would relieve classroom overcrowding.
Superintendent Tom Hosler and the District Strategic Facilities Committee tonight recommended construction of the new facility, that would include conversion of the current Perrysburg Junior High on East South Boundary Street into a fifth and sixth grade building.
The estimated construction cost to build the new school on the Roachton Road campus would be $37-38 million, Mr. Hosler said, and would be paid for through a levy in 2014 or 2015, although specifics have not been determined.
There is a push for a decision now, Mr. Hosler said, because they would need to get information to the planning and zoning commission in the next month to finalize a plan by the end of this year, and get a levy on the ballot in 2014 or 2015.
The committee report gives a construction time line of 18 months, with a new facility ready to open by 2018.School officials said the proposal stems from a 1.5 percent growth in enrollment annually over the past six years that has resulted in overcrowded classes. Mr. Hosler estimated eight classes next year in the district's four elementary schools that would be at or over the district's goal of 25 students per classroom. Two fifth grade classes also already have 28 students, and many classes are near 25, he said.
Besides crowded classes and less personal time with teachers, Mr. Hosler said elementary school lunch times span about two and a half hours to make sure all the students get through lines. This year at Fort Meigs Elementary, officials had to convert a custodial storage area into a classroom, as well as a staff break room that was converted to a small needs classroom.
Three other alternative options were offered in the committee report, including construction a new fifth and sixth grade building at a location to be determined later and converting Perrysburg Junior High to a seventh and eighth grade building, or building a new kindergarten through fourth-grade building and converting an existing elementary building into a fifth and sixth grade building. The last alternative would be expansions to the current buildings.
"There are plenty of ways to do it cheaper," Mr. Hosler said. "The committee felt strongly to do it the right way."
He also said Fort Meigs Elementary will need five more classrooms next year and Frank Elementary will need six additional rooms
Some school board members voiced concerns about an increase in traffic at the high school.
"We have to ask how many students do we want on one campus?" board member Walt Edinger said. "If we build this seventh and eighth at the high school do we have space to add on to the high school down the road? Or will we plan phases where this facility becomes an addition for the high school and we make a seventh and eighth grade building elsewhere?"
Board members plan to discuss the proposal again at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m., March 25, that was already scheduled to approve an interim principal for Woodland Elementary.
"We have to give our hats off to principals for making it work, but at some point with class sizes and different rooms what is the limit?" Mr. Edinger said. "At some point you have to solve the problem."
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