NILES Schools panel is revisiting buildings

This week's visit is a quality control step in development of the district's master plan.
NILES -- Four months after officials with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission assessed district school buildings, they plan another visit.
Superintendent Patrick Guliano said he received a letter from the commission informing him that representatives from a Cincinnati company will be in town today, Thursday and Friday to reassess the buildings. Guliano will accompany them to the buildings.
"I thought they did a thorough job in April," he said.
The representatives will tour the buildings to develop the district's master plan. The plan will address which if any school buildings should be abandoned.
Why this matters: Completion of the master plan is a step in the district's seeking Expedited Local Partnership Program.
Once the plan is finished, the district may select a project for which it can raise local money.
When the district's turn comes up on the funding eligibility list of all school districts in the state, the district may be reimbursed by the state for a portion of that project.
Niles is listed 258th on the state's list of 612 districts with No. 1 being the poorest and the first to receive state help and No. 612 being the richest and the last.
Glenn Rowell, commission planning director, said the commission has worked up to number 125 on the list.
Rowell said a second visit to the district by another architectural firm is part of the commission's quality control program. A second team is sent to some of the districts for which master plans are being developed. Districts visited by a second firm are selected randomly, he said.
Rowell said the quality control step isn't expected to delay the process of developing the master plan. "I would say that it's eminent," Rowell said.
Construction: The visits and assessments include each school building except Edison Junior High. That building is being replaced with a new middle school under construction through a facilities commission grant.
Construction of the $14 million school started in late May in Brynhyfryd Park on the city's south side. The facilities commission grant is paying for the bulk of the project and the district sold bonds to borrow $5.88 million to provide the local match.
Voters passed a bond issue in November 1999 to pay the local match for the middle school project.
The middle school program qualified under the commission's exception needs program and is separate from the master plan under which company and commission officials are assessing district buildings and expedited local partnership program.
Garfield Elementary School is the district's oldest building, built in about 1905 with three sections added in more recent years.

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