FAIRBORN – The Fairborn City Schools are taking the first few steps to build new instructional facilities for its district, and will host a community forum mid-September to invite citizen input.
“We submitted the application to the OFCC [Ohio Facilities Construction Commission] at the beginning of July to let them know we wanted to enter the active planning process,” Chief Financial Officer Nicole Marshall of Fairborn City Schools said. “The board passed the resolution at a special board meeting on June 29 for us to proceed, and I filled out the application online to let them know that we’re doing it.”
The district has been distributing surveys around the community to gauge the amount of support the matter would gain. The board approved a strategic plan during its August meeting, which is required by OFCC. The months of August and September will include an enrollment period, and the buildings will be assessed by OFCC officials within the first two weeks of September. A master plan will then be developed within 60 days following the completed assessment. The district will submit the finalized master plan to OFCC in April 2016, and will later receive feedback in regards to the project’s approval or denial.
“That strategic plan is part of what we have to provide for OFCC to talk about what’s important, what our educational mission is, what our goals are for our students and teachers and the learning environment here,” Public Relations, Grants and Website Specialist Pay Gayheart of Fairborn City Schools said.
The district will introduce a levy on the November 2016 ballot supporting the construction efforts per OFCC’s approval to move forward with the process. OFCC will fund 44 percent of the construction process, while the other 56 percent must be supported by residents. However, if OFCC does not approve the project, all of the project’s funding will be left to voters.
“It’s not the athletic facilities, the [board of education] building, it’s not maintenance and transportation, it’s just buildings that instruction takes place in,”Director of Business Affairs and Classified Personnel Ed Gibbons of Fairborn City Schools said.
The community forum, which will be the first of multiple that will occur, will take place 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17 within the auditorium at Baker Middle School, and Gayheart is hoping to fill the space with the public. Officials from SHP Leading Design, the company leading the design of the buildings, will be present to offer information and answer questions.
“It’s desperately needed,” Marshall said. “Any community member that is curious, we would be more than happy to take them through our buildings to they can see just how much it’s needed.”
Fairborn High School completed its construction in 1970, and is the newest instructional facility within the district’s campus. All of the high school and the east campus of the Baker Middle School building are the only facilities with air conditioning, and Marshall expressed concern in regards to the age of the facilities respective heating systems. Gibbons said most of the other facilities were built in the mid-1950s.
“Many of the other school districts that surround us have newer educational facilities, and they’re able to do, educationally in the classroom, different things because they’re set up differently,” Gayheart said. “Technology is the top issue with all of that. If you’re a family, you want the best for your child, you want the best educational environment, you want everything to be good in the classroom for the teachers and the students, so educationally I think it’s a move in the right direction.”
Whitney Vickers can be reached by calling her directly at 937-502-4532.