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Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Fort Recovery eligible

School construction funding from state

By William Kincaid
FORT RECOVERY - Board of education members are considering a $4.3 million school construction or renovation project with financing help from the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC).
Board members this week learned Fort Recovery is once again eligible to participate in an OSFC-funded project - and a decision must be made in the next few weeks. School officials already have deferred OSFC funding three times.
On Monday, Superintendent David Riel and board member Dave Hull met with OSFC officials. The OSFC is willing to fund 79 to 80 percent of a $4.3 million project for either renovation or construction, according to Treasurer Lori Koch.
But Riel stressed the $4.3 million number will change once OSFC finalizes all the figures, including enrollment numbers.
Koch said the state money could be used for a single K-12 facility, renovation of the high school or demolition of part of the high school and additional construction. The OSFC prefers a consolidated K-12 building, Koch noted.
If board members accept state funding, the school must secure a bond levy and at least $1 million in a year's time, Koch said.
Garmann/Miller & Associates, Minster, was authorized by the board this week to provide architectural services until the passage of a bond issue.
Both Riel and architect Brad Garmann said the OSFC has presented a multitude of options.
"They presented a lot of options - we want to boil them down to a manageable number," Garmann told board members.
Additional information will be presented at the board's work session scheduled for 6 p.m. March 10 before the regular school board meeting.
Board members have deferred OSFC funding the last three years, most recently at a September board meeting, Koch said.
Riel said he had the impression OSFC officials want to move on from Fort Recovery.
"They want a decision," he said.
Riel said the state is using billions of dollars from the one-time tobacco settlement to finance school projects.
"They don't want to find themselves in a position where we're ready to say yes and they don't have any dollars," he said.
Since the board's last deferral, Fort Recovery dropped in the state's priority ranking from 99 out of 614 schools to 112.
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