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School Facilities Community Meeting Review
Friday, October 20, 2017 9:46:30 AM - Monroe Ohio

By John Beagle

For several weeks Monroe Local Schools Superintendent Phil Cagwin has been reminding the community of the October 16, 2017 meeting where he is seeking input on school facilities. The district has been consistent in telling the community that the school is overcrowded.

Our growing school district is approaching full capacity in our two school buildings. The Primary building, constructed in 1954, was designed to house 339 students. We currently teach 470 students there. Our 2-12 building was opened in 2004 and was designed for 1,883 students. At this time we have 2,410 students attending the school. – Source: MLS

I asked the school administration about the meeting, here is what they had to say.

"Hi John,   yes, [we] had a great session on Monday night....   we have not completed summary... but I know Holly sent you all her notes from the meeting.... We will have discussion session at our board meeting on Monday night's board meeting."    Phil Cagwin, Superintendent

"We did receive input but more in the format of questions. I have to say for the most part - people attending were very supportive.    I think most everyone recognized that we are outgrowing the current facilities." Holly Cahall, Treasurer

Here are some highlights from the meeting:

-The last Master Plan from the OFCC proposed building for three grade levels. Depending upon the configuration of the building the current estimate will accomodate between700-950 additional students. However all options are being considered.

-The timeframe for building a new facility is 18 months of design and then 18 months of construction.

-In the meantime, options to accommodate growth on the current campus include:

1. putting students in the field house,
2. putting the choir on the stage,
3. modifying existing facility*
4. modular classrooms.**

*The gym at the junior high wing was designed to be modified into 8 additional junior high classrooms. However the inner core won’t handle the capacity and the hallways are too small. Next building should have oversize core and hallways.
** The Board made it clear there would never be modulars. They were adamant about no modulars.

- Traffic:  There is one way in and one way out, to fix the traffic problem it will cost $500,000 to $1.5 million to build a second way in and out.

  -Open enrollment: This year 150 new open enrolled students are in and 89 left. If we do away with OE we lose $6000 per students. The school district generates $800,000/yr with OE.

 -The Old Lemon Monroe High School Property could be used to build a new elementary school.

 -The primary building: The state will not invest in the primary building any of their matching funds. We can choose as a district how we want to use that building. The state will not fund anything on the primary school building. The district will likely to continue to use the primary school facility.

-Future Capacity: The state will only help to build at current capacity. The district will have to decide if they want to build larger at a direct cost to the community likely in the form of new property taxes.

-E-learning option: The district offers APEX now and students can work on it from home.

 -Quality of Education: State of Ohio state report card rates Monroe as very good. Monroe Local School is rated 3rd in Butlery County.

 -Other Options: There are number of options with moving grades to other sections of the building but the building was built to be used just as it is now, and so we would have to be creative in reconfiguring. Whatever is decided, the current campus will have to be repurposed.  One thing that helps, after fourth period a lot of juniors and seniors leave the building for CCP. If or when grades are moved to the high school side, they will relieve crowding. There are many students who leave the building various reasons, so if grades are moved to that side, they will be accommodated. Superintendent Phil Cagwin said 150 leave campus daily and the HS will be different 10 years from now.  Why are we not speaking about building a high school? Because the high school students have many options outside of the building… Butler Tech… CCP… etc…They are also graduating earlier…

- If we are saying the schools are three years out… Why are we just now having this conversation?   The Facilities Committee decided to renew the operating levy… As soon as it was approved… We are now moving forward. We could not do both at the same time.

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