By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Fairborn City School District officials have been working toward establishing new facilities in previous months — and that to-do list is continuing into the next school year.
School officials had first considered rebuilding all new facilities throughout the district. However, officials are now opting to take on the project in segments — Fairborn Primary School and Fairborn Intermediate School facilities being the first point of focus.
“The reason why is because those two buildings are in the worst conditions,” Fairborn Superintendent Mark North said. “They have been assessed by engineers the commission sent in through an architecture group, and those engineers have identified those two buildings as the very worst.”
North noted both buildings need for electrical, plumbing, roof and mechanical work.
“They absolutely need to be replaced,” North said. “Not repaired, but replaced. There’s so much of it that needs addressed that it’s much more responsible to build new than to try to pour millions of dollars into fixing something that would continue to be a money pit.”
Fairborn City Schools and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission have been working hand-in-hand on this project since its inception. The organization has agreed to pay for approximately 40 percent of the construction project.
The OFCC “is responsible for guiding capital projects for state agencies, state-supported universities and community colleges, including Ohio’s comprehensive public K-12 school construction and renovation program, and managing the grants process for cultural facilities and school security programs,” according to its website.
The remaining percentage will be left in the hands of voters. The bond levy will appear on the upcoming November ballot and, if passed, would fund the construction of the new FPS and FIS buildings. It would also allow the district to address the need for technology within Baker Middle School and Fairborn High School.
“Everything that’s state-driven, including our curriculum and testing, the state now requires that students take the state tests on computers,” North said. “Our district is so far behind in not only computers themselves, but the wiring and support of servers and routers, site access points — we are grossly underdeveloped in being able to provide the technology students are required to use today in education.”
The total cost for the project equals approximately $58 million. OFCC’s would pick up approximately $23.5 million, according to North, leaving the remaining costs the Fairborn community. North said if the bond levy passes in November, a homeowner in Fairborn taking up a $100,000 space would pay $103.25 per year or $1.99 per week. North said by law, funds from the bond could only be used for facilities — not salaries or day-to-day operational needs.
Community members were invited to let their voices be heard within the last year through surveys, community forums and focus groups, all asking what they would like to see in the future of Fairborn school facilities.
Surveys previously distributed throughout the community revealed that “there is an expectation for us to start addressing buildings in this district and provide a safe, healthy environment for kids,” he said.
“There is the desire to keep the facilities at their current location and [the surveys also revealed a desire for FCS to] demonstrate fiscal responsibility and accountability,” North said.