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|04-15-03: Coldwater may lease Celina school
|By TIMOTHY COX
The Daily Standard
Coldwater and Celina school district officials are hoping to strike a
lease agreement for Celina's Franklin Elementary building in Montezuma.
Celina plans to close the building at the end of the school year as
part of a budget reduction plan. Coldwater school officials hope the building could serve
as a temporary home for some of its students during a two-year building project in
School board members in Coldwater are expected to consider approval of
a lease proposal at their April 22 meeting. Celina school board members are not expected
to vote on the issue until Coldwater officials give the proposal their blessing.
Coldwater Superintendent Eric Hoffman said he expects school board
members to approve the deal. School officials have said for some time that renting an
existing facility like Franklin would be far better than placing students in modular
classrooms during construction.
Celina has offered a two-year lease, with a third-year option that
would cost Coldwater $11,000 per month. That figure includes utilities costs, which run
about $35,000 per year at the Franklin building.
"Hopefully they will approve it. It's cheaper than trailers,"
But superintendents at both districts cautioned that the numbers are
not final until approved by both boards. Further negotiation or adjustment to the figures
is possible, they both said.
Coldwater's tentative plan is to move its fifth and sixth grades to
Franklin for two years, and possibly a bit longer. The two classes would make up about 250
The superintendents of the two districts said a lease arrangement would
benefit both sides.
Architects from Fanning/-Howey Associates, Celina, have said the lease
arrangement would be an ideal way to deal with logistical issues as construction unfolds
at the Coldwater complex. Such an arrangement could even lower construction costs by
speeding the work along, they said.
Adding 47,000 square feet of new classroom space that Coldwater's $30.5
million, state-assisted building proposal calls for would be a lot easier if some students
could be moved to an alternative site, both school officials and architects have said.
Celina also stands to gain if the districts can reach an agreement,
Superintendent Fred Wiswell said.
Leasing Franklin is advantageous for Celina for a number of reasons,
Wiswell said. It gives district officials a couple of years to track enrollment figures
and future projections so they can better decide if Franklin will have a role in the
district's future. It also will help recoup $160,000 that was trimmed from the district's
finances due to state budget cuts. Finally, having the building occupied keeps it from
sitting idle, Wiswell said.
The Franklin building has about 29,000 square feet, including 11
classrooms, a gymnasium/cafeteria and stage area, administrative offices and a media
The building was originally constructed in 1941 with an addition in
1955. In the late 1990s, Celina City Schools spent about $2 million on another addition
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