GIRARD SCHOOLS Community suggestions sought for new building

The district must pass a levy on Aug. 2 or lose settlement money.
GIRARD -- School officials are seeking community input for a new junior-senior high school.
The second public hearing was taken out of the classroom Wednesday evening and onto the ball fields of Todd Park. Supporters of the new building are hoping to reach parents where they will be spending most of their summer evenings.
Schools Superintendent Joe Jeswald said, "They want to get as much public input as possible because the school is for the community."
The Ohio School Facilities Commission is putting up $21 million from funds it has received thanks to federal tobacco settlement money. The district received certification of the money in September 2003 and must pass a 5.44-mill levy on Aug. 2 or lose the money.
New location
The district has purchased 110 acres at East Liberty and Churchill Road, which is occupied by the Mahoning Country Club.
Architects have come up with a conceptual floor plan that includes two wings, a common courtyard and ball fields that will include drainage.
"The district wants to see the finished project filled with ideas from the community. At an earlier meeting, some suggested better parking near the fields," Jeswald said.
The district will only need 43 of the 110 acres for the project and is talking to interested parties looking to develop the additional land.
If the levy is passed, construction will begin in 2006 and be completed in the fall of 2008.
John Hyden, president of the Girard Levy Committee, said building the new high school at the country club site will make an easier transition for students.
"This way students won't have to be moved during any renovations or construction at the current high school," he said.
Hyden added, "The cost of renting trailers and using them as classrooms would cost the district about a million dollars, which wouldn't make sense financially."
If voters in Girard say no to the levy, the district could go back to the state and make another request for funds, but the amount that would be available the second time around is unknown, school officials said.

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