Austintown board of education votes to place a bond issue on the May ballot.
Austintown to vote on school bond issue in May
Austintown voters will decide the fate of a new high school when they vote in May on the 4.1-mill bond issue for construction of a new building.
All five board members voted yes during a special board meeting Wednesday morning to place the 37-year bond issue, which acts as a loan, on the May ballot.
“It’s almost a buy one, get one free,” Superintendent Vince Colaluca said.
The district will have 47 percent of the cost of the $64 million new construction covered by the state to replace the current 1960s-built Fitch High with a 21st-century, 285,000 square-foot building.
Colaluca said the old high school is not suitable for 21st-century learning, which is the biggest factor in building the new school. Safety factors with the old school are also a concern as well as the lack of natural light that goes into the school.
About $34 million of the $45,895,000 expected to be raised from the bond will go toward the construction of the new school. The other $10 million — the locally funded initiative — will go to revamp the auditorium, the gym and the football stadium. Classrooms by the auditorium will also be revamped for the Lynn-Kirk School early learning students.
“We have chosen to do this on our own because it is more cost effective,” Colaluca said.
The current gym will remain the performance gym and an academic gym will be built for with the new school.
The board hired Olsavsky Jaminet at the cost of $24,195 for preliminary design on the locally funded initiative.
The architecture firm also designed the current Fitch High School, the two new elementary schools and Austintown Middle School.
In the future, board members and the state will interview architectural candidates for the new Fitch High building.
A community committee will be formed to help pass the bond issue in May.
“This is our tax dollars and if we don’t reserve it (by passing a bond issue) then it will go toward another community in Ohio,” Colaluca said.
If the bond issue does not pass in May, then the board can decide to have a special election in August. After the 13-month time frame has passed, the project will go into a lapsed status, which means the local share has to be raised first before the state commits to its share.