Wednesday, October 15, 2008 2:54 PM
|The District is in Need of a New High School|
The Southwest Licking Local School District will be back on the ballot in November.
Superintendent Forest Yocum explains why.
“We are on the ballot in November to have people vote on a levy for a new high school. Our current high school is extremely crowded. We don’t have enough space, we don’t have enough locker rooms and we don’t have enough cafeteria space. It is a situation where the school itself just doesn’t provide adequate facilities to house the number of kids we have in it.”
Treasurer Richard Jones explains exactly what they are seeking.
“It is a $6.9-mill bond issue. The approximate value is $63,400,000. The millage will be collected over a 28-year period.”
Yocum says if the levy does pass, they will build a new high school and restructure all of the other buildings in the district.
“For instance right now, the high school would be converted to a middle school, so that would be 6th, 7th and 8th grades in the current high school. We would take the current middle school, which is a 6th, 7th and 8th grade building, and change it into a 4th and 5th grade building. Then, we would take 4th grade out of all of the elementary schools, which would leave room for growth, and we would have kindergarten at each elementary building.”
Yocum adds that the new high school will be built with the possibility of growth in mind.
“We are building a high school to house 1,450 students, but we are designing it so it can be increased to 1,600 students, which will allow us some space in the future if the kids need to go to a larger school.”
Yocum says they have even found the perfect location for the new building.
“We have some land that we are working on right now. Hopefully within the next few days, we will have that tied down so we can tell people exactly where that new school site will be. The land is extremely good for a high school site. It would be centrally located within the district and if we can work something out with the landowners, that would be a great benefit to this district.”
Yocum adds that even if the levy doesn’t pass, they will move forward with purchasing the land.
However, he says the district will be forced to make some big decisions if the bond issue goes down November 4th.
“Depending on the number of students we have in increased enrollment, we are going to have to go to some kind of split sessions. We have already given the Board of Education a number of options to look at, such as moving a grade level out of a building and we have looked at places where we could rent space throughout the district. Any kind of situation like that is going to cost more money, but we need to be making a decision, probably in January, as to what we are going to be doing if this levy doesn’t pass.”
Yocum adds that the need for the new school isn’t going to go away.
“Even if we have a short-term solution of finding rental space or something like that to house children, it’s not going to go away. One of the concerns is it’s not a very good time to pass a levy. Right now, we are very concerned about the economy. However, the other problem is if you put it off, the cost for the building goes up anywhere from 5% to 6% or more each year.”
Yocum says their levy committee has been working hard to get the message out to voters.
For more information, log onto www.swlkids.com or call (740) 927-3941.