Indian Creek voters should back issue

Voters in the Indian Creek Local School District will have an important decision to make when they head to the polls on Nov. 7.

They are being asked to approve a 6.49-mill bond issue that would allow the district to build new school buildings, renovate existing buildings and provide state-of-the-art technology that will enhance the learning experience of the district’s students for years to come.

We say they should vote yes.

If passed, funds generated from the bond issue will allow the district to cover the $45 million local match needed to complete the project. The state, through the exceptional needs program of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, will kick in the remaining $18 million.

That money will cover the construction of two new school buildings — a high school at the site of the current high school in Wintersville and a new elementary school at the current Bantam Ridge site — as well as renovations to the Hills Elementary building in Mingo Junction.

In addition to improving educational opportunities, the additions will provide a more secure learning environment and make all of the district’s facilities handicap accessible.

Officials have said that the new schools will increase property values through the district and help Indian Creek attract and retain quality teachers.

Plus, new and remodeled buildings will lower the district’s maintenance costs and provide additional extracurricular opportunities for students.

All of the construction will lead to a dramatic change in the look of the district’s facilities. The current high school and the Wintersville Elementary and Bantam Ridge buildings will be torn down to accommodate the new facilities. Hills Elementary will be renovated. Plus the district will be able to say goodbye to the trailers that hold 16 classrooms. Those changes will happen quickly — it’s anticipated that the new buildings will be ready at the start of the 2021-22 school year.

The district’s middle school in Mingo Junction will not be affected, and Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium will remain unchanged. And, while the baseball and softball fields at Bantam Ridge will be lost, officials have said they will be replaced at another location in the district.

The monthly impact on district residents will be $18.93 on a home that is valued at $100,000. Those who qualify for the homestead exemption will see their tax bill increase $14.20 based on that same home.

One of the biggest questions raised has been the length of the bond issue, and, yes, at 37 years voters are being asked to make a very long commitment. However, the pluses — improved educational and extracurricular opportunities, a safer school environment, lower maintenance costs, accessibility for all students and enhanced property values — outweigh that concern.

And for those reasons, the Indian Creek bond issue should be passed.