School officials seek levy for new building

The majority of residents would like a new K-12 building, a survey shows.
NORTH LIMA -- Hoping to raise funds for the construction of a new school building, the South Range Board of Education has agreed to ask residents to approve a 7.9-mill levy.
At a special meeting recently, the board voted unanimously to place the levy issue on the May 8 ballot.
"This is a big step, and we, the board, myself and the treasurer, have been living, breathing this," said Superintendent Dennis Dunham. "We don't sleep. This project is what has become priority for us. We want to make all the right decisions."
The school district is looking at working with the Ohio School Facilities Commission to upgrade its facilities.
Dunham reported that 74 percent of the residents responding to a recent districtwide survey indicated they would rather see the construction of a new kindergarten through 12-grade facility than any attempt to renovate the current buildings.
The proposed facility would be constructed on a 60-acre site owned by the district along state Route 46 and Green Beaver Road.
The estimated cost of the project is 38.6 million, with the school district contributing 48 percent of that amount and the state providing the remaining funds.
The levy would generate about 20.4 million, the amount needed for the local contribution, with 16.8 million going toward construction and the other 3.6 million going into what is called a Locally Funded Initiative, or contingency account.
The LFI money would help cover various expenses the district could encounter during construction, Dunham explained.
The proposed levy includes 3.4 mills above the previous bond tax rate. Dunham said the average homeowner in the school district, with a house valued around 150,000, would be taxed about 12.98 a month, or 155.76 a year, with the new issue.
Residents recently saw a 4.5-mill tax reduction resulting from the early retirement of a previous loan that had been taken out through a bond issue.
Dunham said the facility would be ready for at least partial occupation by fall 2010.

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