Editor’s Note: In the Miami Valley Sunday edition, the article regarding the Troy City Schools’ four site plan it incorrectly stated the plan’s configuration of the schools. The Hook Elementary School site is planned to house a middle school and the not yet acquired southern site would house a Pre-K through fourth grade elementary building. The Troy Daily News regrets this error.
TROY — Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper said community input gathered from surveys, his monthly coffee chats and strategic planning helped mold the district plan to move forward with a four-site elementary school facilities plan.
Piper shared his vision for the district to building three new Pre-K through fourth grade buildings at the current locations of Cookson, Hook and Concord Elementary sites. The sites are located in the east, north and west areas of the district. The current sites also have land and city park land to expand its footprint, while the other sites are land locked, Piper said. Piper said he’s talked to city officials whom he said are willing to work with the district. If passed, the current buildings would be torn down after the new buildings are built on the sites.
A new fifth and sixth grade middle school is being planned to be built on the site of Hook Elementary School. The district is currently seeking potential properties in the southern area for a new Pre-K through fourth grade building.
In his first year as superintendent, Piper said he gleaned from the community’s input that neighborhood schools were important to parents and neighborhoods.
“Being new to the district, my goal was to learn as much about the district as a whole, but especially about the need for facilities with the issue was the last bond issue that failed and just try to engage as much as possible,” Piper said. “Using our strategic planning meetings, data back from the surveys, facilities rose to the top, which didn’t surprise me.”
Piper said he formulated the plan from the point of view “if we were to start from scratch” and what would make sense in size of buildings and location.
“Four buildings make a lot of sense,” Piper said. Piper said each building would house 600-800 students to help manage student learning environment, operations from transportation and cafeteria needs, as well as special classes such as music and arts education.
“The concept of neighborhood school is an interesting one, but we’ve come up with this current plan we think is our best option for neighborhood school. It doesn’t serve every neighborhood, because every neighborhood isn’t served currently. This is efficient, this is the right size for kids and for teaching and I think this is financially a good plan for our district,” Piper said.
The new middle school building would bring the students together during what Piper called students’ “transformative years.” Piper, a former middle school principal, said students in grades fifth through sixth would be best paired together to navigate social, educational and developmental formative years in one building.
Piper said the district is considering keeping Forest Elementary to house special classes such as intervention classes currently being held at the Troy Memorial Stadium class spaces. Forest was fully renovated during the district’s last major classroom shift using Van Cleve as a sixth grade building and opening Forest as a K-5 building.
Piper said the district is focused on the elementary plan but is researching how to add air conditioning to the high school. That project would not be partially funded by the state. The junior high building is the only building in the district which has air conditioning.
Piper said the state’s new list of Ohio Facility Construction Commission will be out in August. To date, the district estimates it is eligible for 39 percent state funding if a bond levy is passed.
At its June 10 meeting, the board approved hire Ruetschle Architects as its architect of record. During a special June 28 meeting, the district entered into a pre-bond limited services agreement for the first phase of the four-site plan. The agreement includes beginning community forums beginning in September. The cost of the proposal is $64,800. The timeline includes a bond issue to voters in spring 2020.
Piper said the board of education took a survey of voters to understand why the November 2017 bond issue failed. According to the November 2017 general election results for the former one-site two building plan on a Nashville Road and State Route 55 site, 60 percent of voters turned down the bond issue.
“I really think the board did a nice job of listening through the course of this year,” Piper said. Feedback included the need for air conditioning and the need and desire to keep some form of neighborhood schools, Piper said.
The Dayton firm will assist the district to develop a comprehensive facility and site utilization master plan in coordination with the Ohio Facility Construction Commission program. The firm has designed the K-12 building at Milton-Union Schools, Northmont High School, the Fairmont High School Performing Arts Center and Oakwood High School projects, according to its website.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com
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