By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN – Issue 19 on Tuesday’s ballot is asking Fairborn voters to approve a new levy that will construct and maintain new Fairborn Primary and Fairborn Intermediate School buildings.
The levy is 2.7 mills and .25 mills for a period of 37 years and 23 years, respectively, generating $1,708,000 annually, costing an owner of a $100,000 property in Fairborn $103.25 per year, or $1.99 per week.
“We have a 40 percent coupon sitting in our drawer,” Fairborn City Schools Superintendent Mark North said. “If we don’t use it, it will expire and we have to build these buildings. These buildings are worn out. They’re outdated, their usefulness is gone and they have to be replaced. Why in the world wouldn’t we do it now and use this 40 percent-off coupon.”
Fairborn Primary School (formerly known as Five Points Elementary School) as well as Fairborn Intermediate School (formerly known as Palmer-South Elementary School) have various structural issues. Both buildings experience similar challenges on rainy days, such as flooding and the need to utilize soakers in certain hallways along the area where the wall and floor meet. Both buildings also contain a panel of wires that is cooled by a fan that is never turned off, according to district officials.
Fairborn Intermediate School Principal Betsy Wyatt pointed out the building’s need for additional space. She said the cafeteria is a former classroom that was converted to meet breakfast and lunch needs. She said one line must serve 340 students each day, highlighting that students don’t have a lot of time to eat before heading back to class.
“More than 70 percent of our kids are eating breakfast and lunch, which is great,” Wyatt said. “Those numbers increase so we have to get more kids through the line and there’s only one line — there’s not much we can do.”
Fairborn Intermediate School, constructed in the 1950s, has a flat roof, which makes puddling possible. In some areas of the building, the brick bows out and chips and has turned to a black color. Wyatt said this is due to runoff water from the building’s flat roof.
“Structurally, it’s falling apart,” Wyatt said. “ … Flat roofs are against the law now when building new schools because of the leaking problems.”
“There’s a lot of spots in the buildings where water sits and just mildews it,” she added.
FCS officials have long been working toward implementing the plans to provide better facilities, first holding a special meeting in summer 2015 to reach out to organizations who specialize in constructing schools. Since the project’s inception, FCS has worked with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, which has agreed to pay for 40 percent of the project’s total cost, approximately $58 million.
Several community members and businesses have publicly endorsed Issue 19, including Fairborn City Council early in the fall.
If Issue 19 does not pass, FCS will have to try again.
“We have a small opportunity where the state is willing to pay for 40 percent of it,” North said. “Why in the world would we turn that opportunity away? If you had a 40 percent [off] coupon to apply to whatever, would you let it sit in your drawer and expire?”
If it is approved, school officials would move into the planning process, which will take approximately one year. Construction companies would bid on the project, which has potential to create jobs in the area, North said.