AUSTINTOWN - Taxpayers in the Austintown Local Schools District will decide in May whether to approve a 4.1-mill capital improvement bond, most of which would be used to construct a new high school.
The bond would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $144 per year for 37 years.
The 4.1-mill bond is necessary for the district to build a new high school as well as several other renovations, Superintendent Vincent Colaluca said.
With part of the bond going to a new Fitch High School, some will be used for demolition of the old building as well as renovation of the football stands. The new high school would be built north of the existing building in the wooded area and that the bus garage will remain in its current location.
Plans also call for waterproofing the gymnasium and walkway to prevent deterioration. Some of the classrooms along that auditorium would be renovated and turned into office space and preschool classrooms.
The state won't provide money for an auditorium, so $10 million of the bond issue is for that purpose.
Nearly half of the cost of the new building - 47 percent - would be provided by the state, leaving the district to make up the other 53 percent. The building project would cost $68 million, with taxpayers footing $36 million and the state paying the other $32 million.
If the district's share isn't raised, Austintown will be labeled a lapsed district and the money will go elsewhere.
Colaluca has said if the bond doesn't pass, the district is still faced with a 50-year-old building that needs a new heating / cooling system, a roof, and an auditorium lighting system that cannot be upgraded, all of which would cost more than $9 million.
He said although Fitch may not look bad from the outside, the inside needs completely redone. He also said he hopes that voters will see the value of the construction of a new building partly funded with state dollars as opposed to renovating an old building with no help from the state.
OSFC evaluated Fitch High School in 2007 with revisions in 2008 and 2012 and determined that renovating the building would cost more than two-thirds of the estimated construction costs to build a new school. In light of that estimate, the OSFC recommended constructing a new building.
Inspectors found the following items in need of repair or replacement: heating system, roofing, ventilation / air conditioning, electrical systems, plumbing and fixtures, windows, walls and chimneys, general finishes, interior lighting, security systems, emergency / egress lighting, fire alarm, handicap access, site condition, exterior doors, hazardous material, life safety, loose furnishings and technology.
The estimated cost to repair or replace the deficient systems were estimated at approximately $34 million.
Presently, the OFCC is only offering the $31 million for construction of a new building.