Board approves two bond issues

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — At their meeting Monday night, the Tipp City Board of Education voted to place two bond issues on the March ballot.

The first, a 3.98 mill bond issue, would generate about $30 million to build a new prekindergarten through third grade building on the current Broadway Elementary School site.

The second is a 0.69 mill bond issue that would generate $5 million for the purpose of “constructing, improving, furnishing, and equipping athletic facilities district-wide, including but not limited to a high school athletics stadium.”

The board voted 4-1 on the new school bond issue, with Scott Dixon voting no. The stadium bond issue passed with a 3-2 vote. Kate Johnsen and Carla Frame cast the no votes.

The board also discussed possible athletic facility plans with the district’s architect Mike Ruetschle, who shared some budget projections and discussed the pros and cons of building a new stadium at the high school versus the City Park location.

According to Ruetschle, a new stadium can be built at either location for under $5 million.

Ruetschle that, according to zoning requirements, a stadium seating 4,000 people would require 1,000 parking spots — one space for every four seats. To build a stadium of this size at the high school, another 511 parking spots would be needed.

Ruetschle met with city staff and they determined that there are some green spaces adjacent to the football field at City Park that could be used for parking spaces. That location has 196 existing spots and another 120 could be added.

“We would be grandfathered at this location,” Ruetschle said.

Staff also indicated that the concession stand at the aquatic center could be used for the stadium as well, Ruetschle said. The City Park location would still need new locker rooms.

At the high school, there could be lower building costs because existing bathrooms and locker rooms pull double duty for sporting events. Ruetschle said city staff informed him that there is also a risk for high bedrock at the high school site.

Resident and parent Scott George weighed in on the athletic facilities during public comments.

“People in this community — in fact, 87 percent — put their priority in retaining quality staff, classroom facilities, and then athletic facilities,” George said, referencing a survey commissioned by the district. “I challenge you that the reason that you haven’t gotten to the stadium issue is because you haven’t satisfied the first two priorities of the community.”

George also said that the community needs more details about the athletic facilities bond issue, saying that the project is not striking a chord with the residents.

“The lack of a plan for the stadium isn’t helping with this,” he said. “There may be a template or a boilerplate plan that you have, but people in the community don’t know what it is.”

The district will host a public forum on Dec. 9 to discuss facilities, with a focus on the Broadway site. The meeting will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Broadway cafeteria.

In other business, the board approved the purchase of two Blue Bird 72 passenger buses at a cost of $79,305 for one and $79,655. The only difference in cost is the credit the district will receive from the two older vehicles that will be traded in.

The board also heard from high school senior and student board representative Emily Gootzeit, expressing her gratitude for her experiences in the high school marching band.

By Cecilia Fox