June 29, 2016

Mostly sunny

Input sought on renovations to Highland elementary, middle schools

Highland officials are hoping residents will attend a school board meeting tonight to learn more about the district’s plans to replace and repair aging buildings.

Highland School Superintendent Catherine Aukerman will give a presentation on the current state of school buildings within the district, based on an assessment from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. She also will outline the steps the district will take to engage residents in a discussion about how they would like the school to replace older buildings.

Aukerman and the board will outline the multiphase research process to determine the next steps for the aging elementary and middle school buildings. The district’s three elementary school buildings are about 90 years old.

At a December meeting, Aukerman said the cost to replace the buildings would be about $16 million each, and will likely cost more than what the district gets from federal, state and local tax dollars.

Aukerman’s remarks came when the district announced plans to build a new $7 million to $8 million stadium just south of the current high school grounds.

At the December meeting, board members voted to start design work on the stadium and said it would be financed over 20 years using $400,000 from the about $1 million the district receives in sales tax money each year. That money can only be used toward capital expenditures.

While a formal plan for replacing the buildings has not been decided, in December, Aukerman said she was certain it would require more taxpayer money.

“In time we do believe we’ll be going to the community to ask for funds for the new elementary schools,” Aukerman said.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Media Center at Highland High School, 4150 Ridge Road.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or at lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.