Indian Creek asking for support on bond issue

WINTERSVILLE — The Indian Creek Local School District is asking for community support of a 6.1-mill bond issue on the May 8 ballot.

According to Superintendent T.C. Chappelear, a “yes” vote will help support the renovation of Hills Elementary to like-new condition, build a new elementary school to replace Wintersville Elementary and build a new high school to replace the current Indian Creek High School. The construction of the elementary and high schools will be co-funded by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission through the Exceptional Needs Program.

“The state awards money through the program to facilities that are in the worst condition throughout the state,” Chappelear explained. “Last year, we submitted ENP applications for the high school and Wintersville Elementary, and both qualified for funding. Due to this award, $18 million of the $63 million project will be contributed by the state through the OFCC.”

Should the levy pass, the following updates will be made:

¯ Hills Elementary will receive a nearly $10 million renovation, bringing the building to like-new condition. The school will continue to educate students in grades preschool through fourth and will be fully handicap accessible. The renovation of Hills Elementary is a locally funded initiative. LFI’s are fully funded by the district, with no co-funding from the state.

¯ The new high school will be in Wintersville on the current high school campus, although the exact location is yet to be determined. Although the high school will be co-funded through the OFCC, there will be locally funded initiatives included in the project, such as an 800-seat auditorium and improvements to the new high school site.

¯ The new elementary school will be located on the site of Bantam Ridge Elementary, which currently houses the district offices and several tenants. The exact location on the Bantam Ridge site is yet to be determined, and consideration is being given to the baseball and softball fields located there. The fields will be impacted by the construction, but all will be replaced at a site to be determined within the school district.

“New facilities allow us to prepare students for the demands of the changing world,” Chappelear stated. “Providing modern learning environments, with technology at the core of everything we do, is challenging in the constraints of our current buildings, which include 16 classrooms housed in trailers between Hills Elementary and Indian Creek High School.”

Fully integrated safety and security technology will improve the ability of school officials to control access to visitors and lock down the school in times of emergency, he explained.

“Vestibule entrances will allow office staff to track and monitor every entering guest,” Chappelear said. “Traffic safety will be improved by deliberate, detailed planning about flow patterns and student safety. State-of-the-art technology in the event of an intruder will allow the building to be locked down with the push of a button.

“Handicap accessibility is another reason for the renovation and replacement of buildings,” he continued. “Currently, the only fully handicap-accessible building in the school district is Indian Creek Middle School. The district feels that all learning spaces should be accessible to all students, and the master plan proposed on the May 8 ballot would ensure this.”

Chappealer explained there also is cost of doing nothing in regards to these buildings.

“The trailers that house 16 classrooms are reaching the end of their useful life,” he stated. “Replacement costs are high for these modular classrooms, which were meant to serve only as a temporary solution. Failure of these trailer classrooms will negatively impact the district’s ability to deliver instruction at Indian Creek High School and Hills Elementary School. Heating and cooling, plumbing and electrical systems in these buildings are old and failing. If these buildings are not replaced or renovated, good money will be spent maintaining outdated systems.”

A “yes” vote on May 8 makes the Indian Creek School District a better community, Chappealer believes.

“New schools enhance community property values, as the excellence of our schools continues to attract great families and great residents,” he noted. “New facilities allow us the ability to attract and retain the area’s top teaching talent.”

The bond issue to be considered is for 6.1 mills. The added monthly cost for a property that is evaluated at $100,000 is $17.79. For senior citizens with a Homestead exemption, this amount will be reduced to $13.34 per month.