School officials discuss facility options, bond timeline

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — The Troy City Schools Board of Education on Wednesday continued to explore its facility options and create a possible timeline during a workshop session.

At its Nov. 19 board meeting, Superintendent Chris Piper said he would address several of the board members’ questions regarding Ohio Schools Facilities Commission building restrictions, what current sites can handle an increase in students with new additions to current buildings, the district’s debt limit, projected costs for the high school renovation and other site specific questions.

Board member Tom Kleptz asked if the district plans to hold community meetings or forums to discuss its options with the public as soon this winter or spring.

Piper suggested the board and administration to spend the next year gathering input from the community as it pares down its facility options. Piper said he believes the district should take its time to place a bond issue on the ballot no earlier than May 2020.

“It’s going to come up. It’s going to be a point of conversation about the facilities. People are going to want to know what the options are, I believe. That will give us the chance to say, ‘I’m glad you brought that up, here’s some of the options we are considering, what do you have to say about that?’ Whether that’s anecdotal, evidence or that’s a survey instrument, there are options in front of us. At the same time then if we set our timeline for our campaign and say our target date to run this May of 2020 or November of 2021 even, we can then organize an effective campaign to get the message out — a well structured thorough campaign,” Piper said. “Because no matter what, it’s going to be an emotional vote, it always is.”

Piper provided a map of where all 4,600 Troy City Schools students were located within the district using its transportation data.

Piper also updated the board that he is continuing to explore other land options. Piper said he will know soon if a location in the south area of the district may be an alternative location for its future facilities. The board’s contract to purchase 58 acres at State Route 41 and Nashville Road will expire at the end of the year.

The board also discussed a three building option with two elementary buildings to house Pre-K through fourth grade and a possible new middle school building for the district’s fifth and sixth graders. The board discussed expanding Concord and Cookson Elementary buildings as a possible options to house the elementary students, with other options including Heywood and Hook. All four elementaries have city park land or other land options to expand the current buildings’ footprint. Piper said city officials have stated they are willing to work with the school district throughout the facilities planning process.

The board discussed coming up with a pros and cons lists once OSFC information and other district data is compiled. Earlier in the meeting, Piper reported the average age of all the district’s buildings is 71 years old. Piper said he’ll continue to gather community feedback at his planned coffee chats. Piper’s next coffee chat is at 1 p.m. Oct. 29 at Starbucks on West Main Street.

By Melanie Yingst