TROY — The Troy City Schools district is in the beginning phases of planning for how education will look in the future and how those changes could potentially impact the district’s aging facilities.
“(The Education Visioning Team) met on Wednesday and basically what we are talking about is what do we need for education in the future,” Superintendent Eric Herman said. “All we are doing with this first group (Education Visioning) is figuring out what is education going to look like and what do we need to address education 10-15 years down the road.”
The team met last week and includes 30-35 community members, teachers, students, business owners, parents, and administration.
“I think we had a good representation across the board,” Herman said of the Education Visioning Team.
Herman said once the team completes its series of meetings in mid-September, the administration will move forward with community meetings for more input along with state and private facilities assessments.
Herman said Thomas Porter Architects working on behalf of the Ohio Facilities Commission has been touring the district’s buildings this month and will present its findings to the district in the coming weeks.
“They are doing a study on all of our buildings,” he said. “They are looking at everything mechanical and they’ll give us a report on what they’ve found.”
Herman said as the district stands in good shape right now. Herman said only subtle things like some building’s lack of handi-cap accessibility in some elementary schools has caused issues, but the district has worked around those incidents.
Last April the board hired SHP, a consultant and architect firm, for the district’s facility and master plan for $45,000 for 200 consulting hours through November 2017.
SHP provided its own study to the board stating to outfit all of the school current buildings with upgraded electric, HVAC and plumbing infrastructure would cost approximately $50 million. The OSFC report will also provide a similar report in the coming weeks.
The SHP firm’s main goal would be to seek the community’s input whether to rehabilitate its current facilities, build new schools or a combination of the two options.
In 2012, the district hired Paul Fallon Associates to survey the community about the district’s facilities. The survey found that the community was satisfied with how the district maintained the buildings.
Herman has stressed that the district has no pre-conceived plan during the facility planning process and is in the information gathering phase of what education will look like in the next few decades. Yet, Herman has stressed that the district’s aging facilities are getting more costly to repair with many buildings still running on its original boiler systems and lack of air conditioning in all buildings except for the Junior High.
“Our kids get a great education right now … if you just look at our Capital Improvement funds, we have $685,000 a year, but if you look at our 5 year plan on how to fix things, we’d need actually $3 million a year and we just can’t keep up,” Herman said. The Capital Improvement funds can only be used for the facilities and permanent improvements such as technology, buses, and maintenance improvements.
With approximately $685,000 per year, Troy City Schools maintains its nine education buildings and additional facilities using its capital or permanent improvement levy funds from the community. Troy City Schools Treasurer Jeff Price said due to the mild winter in 2015, projects like repaving parking lots were pushed back to allow more important repairs to be completed.
The 1.1 mill levy was last renewed in 2013.
Since Aug. 10, the Troy City School district has spent nearly $567,700 of those funds to repair and maintain the district’s buildings and facilities which range from Van Cleve’s 102 year-old building to its “youngest” facility Troy Junior High built in 1973.
This year’s work ranged from new windows, roof replacement and “tuck pointing” or adding motor between the bricks on the exterior of the buildings.