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Wadsworth middle school project on hold

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WADSWORTH — Superintendent Andrew Hill said the district is waiting for the state as it works to figure out the future of a replacement for Central Intermediate School.

Little progress has been made in an effort to get state funding to replace the aging school.

“Since we have had our special meeting with the (Ohio Facilities Construction Commission) we have engaged in some correspondence with them,” Hill said during Monday evening’s regular school board meeting.

“We are kind of in a holding pattern right now, waiting for the OFCC to respond to some of the questions we’ve asked and to recalculate what type of space is available using their formulas,” Hill said.

A special meeting attended by both district and city officials with the OFCC was held Oct. 18 in Wadsworth to discuss the district’s notification earlier this year that it was no longer eligible for more than $15 million in state funding the district believed was available to replace the aging school. The state contends the district has enough excess space to satisfy student enrollment and it doesn’t need to replace the school.

School officials believe funding for the project should be available because the district deferred construction and did not believe doing so would jeopardize funding.

Hill said that following the Oct. 18 meeting, the district received a letter from the OFCC summarizing where it believes both entities are regarding the funding. The district responded with a letter stating its understanding of where it believes the district stands as well.

In the meantime, the district has received an updated 10-year enrollment projection. Those numbers were not available to the public Monday. The district’s current enrollment is 4,557 students.

Hill said that during the Oct. 18 meeting, district Treasurer Doug Beeman determined that the capacity limits the OFCC were using to calculate the capacity of district buildings was not accurate.

“Upon some questioning from Mr. Beeman, it was discovered the capacity limits they were using to determine that we had excess space included additions to buildings that we never made,” Hill said. “We believe that the capacity they believe we have is less than what they originally presented and the enrollment study shows that our enrollment currently is higher than what was used in the spring.”

Hill said at this point the district is waiting for to receive the updated numbers.

“We do not have a timeframe on that,” Hill said.

Board President Jody McDougal thanked Beeman and Hill for their diligence in pursuing the matter.

“They have been relentless in continuing to push forward and I want to assure you that on behalf of the board we are by no means ready to give up on this,” she said.

“We will continue to push forward and do everything in our power to see that we get some changes made and see that our efforts go through,” McDougal added.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.


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