NORTH CANTON The North Canton City School District could be trimmed to four school buildings under two scenarios presented during the third and final community meeting held Feb. 21.
Both proposed scenarios take the district from seven buildings to four. Scenario A offers two buildings for pre-kindergarten to fourth grades, one new middle school for grades five through seven and moving the eighth grade to the Hoover High School building.
Scenario B offers two buildings for pre-kindergarten to fifth grade, one new middle school with sixth through eighth grades and the high school would remain ninth through 12th grades. This scenario would require the district to purchase additional land.
The results of the three meetings are being compiled for a presentation to the Board of Education by a 40-member volunteer steering committee at the March 15 meeting. Superintendent Jeff Wendorf said holding the meetings have been a vital part of the process to get community input as to what the district should do about building updates and repairs.
"The first meeting was to get input about what education will look like in the future and what does the district need to do to meet the needs of students for the next 40 years," Wendorf said. "The second meeting was to discuss school size, grade configuration, program offerings and alternative facility uses. This last meeting was to summarize all of the findings and to present two scenarios of what the district could be in the future. What we know for sure at this point is that we have to do something about the aging buildings in the district."
Each of the district's buildings have been inspected by the Ohio Facility Construction Commission (OFCC) and validated by the Sol/Harris Day architectural firm in Canton.
The report from the OFCC building assessment found that all the buildings outside the high school need major components replaced including heating systems, roofing, electrical systems, windows, structure, interior lighting, emergency lighting, fire alarms, handicapped access, site work, exterior doors, life safety (keeping occupants safe) and more. The high school needs roofing, finishes, interior lighting, fire alarms, site work and loose furnishings replaced.
All buildings received several poor and borderline ratings for a number of items such as structural and machinal, plant maintainability, building safety and security, educational adequacy and environment for education. Greentown Elementary received the worst ratings of the seven schools.
The OFCC uses a two-thirds guideline (66 percent or higher) on the facility condition index to determine the need to replace or repair the buildings. All buildings except the high school were rated over the 66 percent, with some receiving a 75 percent-plus rating.
If new schools were built using OFCC funding, North Canton Schools would have to match 37 percent of the cost locally.
Wendorf said that if the board accepts the recommendations of the steering committee, the timeline would include determining a financial plan, possibly putting a levy on the ballot, a year to plan after the passage and two to three years to build.
Wendorf encourages all North Canton residents to review the information gathered from the three meetings, including proposed costs and the ratings for each of the buildings on the district’s website at www.northcantonschools.org, click on the "Community" tab and then click on "Facility Master Planning Project."
The first community meeting was held in late November and the second in mid-December. North Canton City Schools held the community meetings to gather feedback in order to shape the future of the district.