The Wadsworth Board of Education’s new five-year strategic plan for the school district includes two major capital improvement projects.
Under the plan, which the board plans to approve Dec. 14, the district will start planning what to do with Central Intermediate School, which was built in 1907, Superintendent Andy Hill said.
“It’s had heating, air conditioning, ventilation problems, and water leaks from time to time,” Hill said. “Because of the age of the facility, there’s always something.”
Hill said that in 2000 parts of the building were renovated and there have been some additions.
The planning and construction of a school like Central Intermediate for fifth- and sixth-graders would take about 10 years to complete, Hill said.
“The planning process will work through whether a new building is necessary or if we should just do more renovating,” he said.
The other project is a multipurpose facility behind the high school near the athletic fields.
“It will be a smaller facility to allow for baseball and softball batting cages that can be used for other activities as well,” Hill said.
Funds for the building would come from sales tax money or through private funding, he said. Construction would start in February 2017 at the earliest.
A cost estimate was not available.
Included in the five-year plan is a call to reduce classroom sizes for kindergarten through second grade.
Hill said kindergarten classes have 28 students to one teacher, which the board agrees is too many.
“The research that’s out there on class sizes shows pretty conclusively that there are some academic gains for students, especially in those early ages, if they’re in smaller class sizes,” he said. “Our teachers have that same sentiment, too.”
The board will decide how many students should be in a class and whether they hire more teachers or find another remedy for the situation.
Increased drug prevention and awareness also made the list of things to improve on over the next five years.
“We’ve definitely been working to take a proactive approach to the heroin and opiate problem in the community,” Hill said. “If you look at the situation across the county, the state and the nation, you can see the increase in overdoses and deaths related to these drugs, and we want to educate and hopefully prevent that from happening in the district as much as we can.”
The district included some technology upgrades in the strategic plan, such as replacing the district-wide phone system.
“It’s been a very long time since the phones have been updated,” Hill said. “What we have is very outdated.”
The district also will look into possibly building its own fiber-optic ring.
Hill said the district has a contract to use the city of Wadsworth’s fiber-optic network, but wants to see if building its own would “save us money in the long run.”
The full five-year strategic plan can be found at www.wadsworth.k12.oh.us.