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05-15-03: St. Marys School board accepts master building plan
Members pick building site, hire principal

The Daily Standard

    ST. MARYS - St. Marys City Schools board of education members on Wednesday accepted a final master plan for a planned new school campus and announced its selection for a land site.
    The board, meeting in regular session, agreed to an option to buy land owned by Marv and Kathleen Buehler, 11615 Glynwood Road, Wapakoneta, and David and Nancy Liette, 2286 Celina Road, St. Marys.
    The property is located off the south side of Ohio 29/U.S. 33 between the Kmart and Koenig Road exits and extends from Ohio 29/U.S. 33 to Ohio 703. The approximately $1.66 million acquisition would include 118 acres owned by Buehlers at $10,000 per acre for a total of $1.18 million and 40 acres from the Liettes for $12,000 per acre for a total of $480,000. The site also would include six acres of donated land from the Liettes for right of way.
    Of the Buehler parcel, 88 acres will be available for construction. The land includes a nine-acre pond and 21 acres of woodlands.
    "We can use the pond for our (precipitation) runoff," said board member Grady Shaner, who was part of the site selection committee. "We may have to modify it a bit or make it bigger, but we already have it there. The woods gives can be used for plant biology."
    Shaner added that the land is relatively flat and will require very little excavation work.
    In the final master plan, the board agreed to terms, including   building of a new elementary/ middle school to house grades 5-8 and a new high school including a career technology learning facility for grades 9-12. The plan also calls for renovations to East and West Elementary schools with East used to house grades prekindergarten-first and West used for grades 2-4.
    The total estimated project cost is $54.7 million. Of that, $33.9 million will be paid for through the state's Ohio Schools Facilities Commission (OSFC) Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP) and the rest, totaling $20.8 million, will come from local funds. The plan also calls for the abandonment of Moulton and Noble elementary schools, as well as McBroom Junior High and Memorial High School.
    Superintendent Paul Blaine stressed,"This simply gives us the option to buy the land. This is not a decision to buy it."
    Blaine also added that the total project cost does not include locally funded initiatives such as a performing arts center which would increase project costs. He said money from the state would be available to demolish the schools being abandoned should the board choose to do so.
    The board has discussed the possibility of a levy to build the new school in November, but has made no final decision. To pay for the local share, school officials have discussed an extension of the current 10-year, 4-mill levy passed for upgrades to East and West Elementary schools in 1997, plus three additional mills.
    St. Marys school district residents pay about $901 a year in school property taxes currently based on a $100,000 home according to Auglaize County Auditor Karen Schumann. With extension of the four mills plus the three additional mills, residents would pay about $996 per year. Blaine guessed the levy would continue for 25 to 29 years.
    In other business, James Carpenter was selected as the new principal at East Elementary High School by the board.
    Carpenter was one of 19 applicants and eight finalists for the position after Jerry Vanderhorst submitted his resignation in February, which is effective at the end of the school year. Vanderhorst decided to leave the position after one year to return to a teaching position in New Knoxville. An executive session meeting with Carpenter was held last Wednesday before making the decision.
    "I think he will be an excellent principal for our school district," Blaine said.
    The board also:
    - Recognized the Health Knowledge Bowl Team of Jessica Alt, Kari Brockman, Sara Wendel, Jenn Will and Heather Irish for their gold metals in the regional and state competitions. The team will participate at the national level in Kansas City, Mo. in June.
    - Recognized fifth grade student Nick Ahlers, son of Jeff and Julie Ahlers, for outstanding success in the Fraternal Order of Eagles' God, Flag and Country speech contest.
    - Approved the first of 206 graduating seniors.
    - Agreed to the appointmentsof personnel to 27 various positions within the school district.


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