Batavia Local Schools

Dedicated to Excellence

800 Bauer Avenue
Batavia, OH 45103
P: 513-732-2343
F: 513-732-3221



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November Bond Issue

November Bond Issue

On November 6, 2018 the Batavia Local School District will be on the ballot for approval of a 7 Mill levy to complete the Board of Education Master Facilities Plan.  The sections below provide information about the rationale for completing the Master Facilities Plan versus renovating on our own, details about what the finalized Master Facilities Plan contains, and answers to frequently asked questions from throughout the community.

The Journey To The Bond Issue

A common question about the Bond Issue revolves around the District choosing to build two new buildings instead of renovating the existing middle and high schools.  A variation on this question is why was the decision made to Build a new high school instead of renovate it since it is only 20 years old? 

The answer to both questions has to do with the cost that the State has put on renovating each building.  When planning began on finishing Bulldog Place, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission conducted a facilities assessment on the middle school and high school.  Even though they are thirty years apart in age, both buildings have a number of items that have reached the end of their life cycle and are in need of replacement.

When the list was reviewed and totaled, the dollar amount just for the items the State identified as ‘needs replacement’ came to a little over 10 million dollars for the middle school and over 11.5 million for the high school.  These costs include projects such as roof replacement, HVAC replacement, window replacement, and electrical replacement.

In looking at the option of replacement, there were three issues that steered the planning team away from this option:

  1. Unknown total cost - Renovations always end up being more expensive due to unknown factors that are discovered once renovation begins.
  2. Student education concerns - What do you do with the students while you renovate, and if you chose to renovate and keep school open there are significant additional costs to build and then tear down temporary classroom space.
  3. Renovate vs. Build New Cost - In working with OFCC, their preference is to build new vs. renovate when the cost to renovate goes above two thirds of the cost to build new.  For both buildings this turned out to be the case, and it also turns out that we will spend LESS local money to build new than to renovate on our own.
    1. Middle School:
      1. Renovate ‘needs replacement items’ on our own - 10 million dollars (local cost)
      2. Build new with State Support - 5.3 million dollars (local cost)
    2. High School:
      1. Renovate ‘needs replacement items’ on our own - 11.63 million dollars (local cost)
      2. Build new with State Support - 7.3 million dollars (local cost)

If the choice were to renovate, for just under 22 million dollars the buildings would have the ‘needs replacement’ items taken care of, but you would still have two campuses, buildings with the same layout, and no solution for future growth or other items the community has identified as important.

By partnering with the State,  Batavia will be able to get two new buildings, an addition to the elementary school, a converted high school that will meet current community needs along with future growth needs, a maintenance fund to protect the building investment for generations to come, and a renovated athletic complex that will serve all three buildings on a single campus along with all of the youth sports programs in the Batavia community.  The local cost for all of this is just over 23.5 million dollars, which is almost identical to what would be spent to only renovate the ‘needs replacement items’ on our own in the current buildings.

Given these two options, the choice to build new, take advantage of almost $38 million dollars in State funding for the new buildings, and complete Bulldog Place now and for the future by investing in the current high school and the athletic complex was the one that made the most fiscal sense.

The Master Facilities Plan

In early July the Board of Education officially approved the final plan for Bulldog Place which will appear on the November ballot.  The plan includes the following enhancements to Bulldog Place that will, when completed, officially have all main District learning facilities located on a single campus.

  1. A new high school, located directly next to the current high school
  2. A new middle school, located on the current soccer practice fields
  3. An addition to the elementary school, designed to accommodate future enrollment growth
  4. A repurposing of the current high school, which will include:
    • Space for the Board of Education offices
    • A dedicated K-12 wrestling facility
    • Community meeting space in current classrooms
    • Community event space in the current cafeteria
    • Space for a campus based health clinic (think Little Clinic in Kroger)
    • Flexibility to bring classroom space back online based on enrollment needs
  5. Final upgrades to the athletic facilities to support three buildings on a single campus, which will include building a turf multipurpose field and turfing existing athletic surfaces
  6. A maintenance fund to support the new buildings well into the future (similar to what is currently in place for the elementary school.

For those who have been following the progress of the plan development over the past two years, there have been a few shifts over time that have been the result of a firming up of the project budget and an evolution in thinking about how to best structure the project in order to bring maximum benefit to the District.

The two major changes that have occurred over time have been with the plans for the middle school and the existing high school.  For the middle school, there were extensive mechanical and classroom renovations that would have needed to occur at the high school in order to make the renovated space work for the middle school.  After extensive consideration, it was determined that it was more cost effective to build a new middle school instead of renovating the existing high school to serve as the middle school. 

Once that decision was made, the planning team began thinking about what that meant for the current high school, and a plan was developed to repurpose the building to meet the variety of community and District needs that have been identified over the course of the planning process.

What has remained constant is the fact that the State of Ohio will be paying 80% of the construction costs for the vast majority of the building projects, which provides the community with a unique opportunity to bring State dollars back in a way that will have a positive impact on all of Batavia for generations to come.  The amount the State will pay also has allowed for a creative planning process that will provide a finalized campus that serves not only Batavia’s K-12 students, but will establish Bulldog Place as a community hub that serves the entire Batavia Community.

In order to make these plans a reality, the November ballot will ask Batavia voters to approve a 7 mil bond issue.  This is less than was asked for in the 2012 election, and the District will be getting significantly more for the investment based on the amount the State is paying for the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we going back so soon to build more new buildings since we just built the new Elementary School?

The Master Facilities Plan of the Board of Education has been to complete Bulldog Place with all buildings on a single campus as far back as 2008.  The unprecedented level of State funding the District is in line to receive from the State for the school building portion of the project, along with the facility needs that have to be addressed at the current middle and high schools make this the perfect time to finish Bulldog Place.  The amount that the State will give the District may never be this high again, and the opportunity to complete the campus to serve our entire community now and well into the future is one that is difficult to pass up.

 

How will the new buildings improve security for our students?

While we’ve continued to work on improving security on our middle school and high school campus, the current building designs limit our capabilities.  When designing the new buildings, we’ll be able to incorporate the newest security features and recommended security standards.

 

 

What will be done with the old middle school once the project is complete?

We’ve had a few parties express interest in the property and will explore all options once the bond issue passes, ensuring that the solution is what’s best for the community and the school.

 

 

I’ve heard that we are still paying off the current high school.  How much longer do we have to pay on this building?

The current high school is scheduled to be paid of by December of 2022, but there are several factors that may allow the building to be paid off sooner.  When this happens the Batavia Local School District portion of property owners’ tax bills will decrease by 2.75 mills.

 

 

I keep hearing that Bond Issue is a giant opportunity for the District and Batavia Community.  How so?

With the successful 2012 bond issue, the State paid 49% of the cost of the elementary school while the District paid 51%.  With the current Bond Issue, the State will be paying 80% of the majority of the costs for a new high school, new middle school, and elementary school addition, which is a significant increase in State support from 2012.  Furthermore, other Districts in Clermont County would not see nearly the amount in State support as Batavia is getting. For example if CNE were to undertake this project, they would have to pay 76% of the cost and the State would only pay 24%!  Similarly, Milford would pay 64% with the State picking up 36%, and in Williamsburg they would have to pay 40% with the State paying 60%.

 


Why has the District made the decision to move the Middle School out of the Village?

The District is very proud of its heritage and long standing presence in the Village of Batavia.  Several years ago the Village brought the land where Bulldog Place sits under its the policial control, which means that all of the school buildings are still within the geographical boundaries of the Village.  Furthermore, the District and the Village are enjoying a period of very strong relations, and currently partner on several initiatives including parking lot maintenance and school safety.


What is the total cost of the project, and how much is the State paying versus how much are Batavia taxpayers paying?

The total cost of the school building portion of the project is $51,363,926.50, with the State paying $37,876,403.11 and the District paying $13,487,523.39.

In addition, the local improvements such as the repurposing of the high school and the athletic facility improvements are the total responsibility of the District, and will cost $10,093,942.14

The total cost of the project is $61,457,868.64, with the State paying almost $38 million of this cost.  When combined with the money received from the State for the new elementary school, the completion of the Master Facilities Plan will have brought a total of over $50 million dollars to the local community.

 

What is the timeframe for completing the project and moving into the new buildings if the bond issue passes in November?

The athletic facility updates will begin in the early 2019, with the field at Holman Stadium ready to play on in the fall of 2019 and the baseball and softball fields ready by the spring of 2020.  The additional athletic complex improvements will be worked on through 2019 and 2020, with a goal of total completion by early 2021.

For the buildings, the design work will take place from January 2019 through June 2020, with construction beginning in the fall of 2020 and concluding in early summer 2022.  The goal will be to move into the buildings in the summer of 2022 and to have an on time opening in our new spaces in the fall of 2022.

The final phase of the project will be the re-purposing of the existing high school, which will take place during the 2022/23 school year.  In this school year the Board will still be at the old middle school and the community uses slated for the re-purposed high school (4 Bulldog Place) will occur at the old middle school.  At the conclusion of the school year, the Board offices will move to 4 Bulldog Place and community uses will transfer to the new space as well.

The important point to note in this projected timeline is the assumption of an on-time, expected release of the State portion of funds in January of 2019.

 

What will happen if the bond issue doesn’t pass?

The state has agreed to pay 80% of the building project costs if the bond issue passes in the next 13 months.  If it does not pass, Batavia Local Schools may lose this rare opportunity to have such a large amount of the project funded by the state. (As a comparison, the state only funded 49% of the new elementary project).

 

Will construction occur all at the same time?

Yes, construction will happen simultaneously to maximize efficiency and to cut the project timeline, all the while ensuring the least amount of disruption to students as possible.

 

We think a multi-purpose community space is a great idea, but was curious about the cost of converting the existing high school into this space?

The cost of converting this space is just over 4 million dollars, but is is proportionally a very small part of the overall cost.  The advantages to this creative idea is it provides spaces to meet all of the needs identified by the community (including space for a campus based health clinic, space for the K-12 wrestling program, extra gym space, and event space for community meetings and activities).  In addition, it allows the District to preserve classroom space that could eventually be brought back online as we continue to grow without having to ask for additional building dollars.

 

How will increased traffic and entrances be accounted for when all the buildings are on a single campus?

Additional bus pathways will be designed into the campus to streamline traffic flow, as well as a new path for Bulldog Place and more efficient parking areas.  We will also work with the county and local law enforcement to ensure that traffic patterns around the property are optimized to accommodate any additional traffic.

 

Won’t we be landlocked if we put all three buildings at Bulldog Place?  How will we accommodate unexpected future growth?

The property will still have space for additions to all three buildings.  We also still own the property in the village where the old elementary used to be and can utilize it various ways to accommodate growth.  Also, part of the strategy in re-using a large portion of the current high school is to have classroom space that can be brought back online in the event of an unexpected growth in enrollment.

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