The Canal Winchester Board of Education is considering facilities improvements at two of the district’s schools using permanent improvement funds and district cash reserves.
“As the District continues to grow, the Board wants to proactively plan for future capital needs and projects,” said Board President Mr. Kevin Butler.
Board members discussed at the August regular meeting two potential construction projects that would align to the district’s goals and meet student needs – additional cafeteria space at Canal Winchester Middle School and additional classrooms at Indian Trail Elementary. The Board will use funds already in the district’s coffers and will not seek a bond issue or additional local taxes for the project.
“The Board of Education has been proactively earmarking funds for facilities repairs, improvements, and projects,” said Superintendent Ms. Kiya Hunt. “This has put the district in a position to make needed improvements that will benefit our students, families, and community as soon as they are completed.”
The two projects under consideration are:
- A 2,500-square foot addition to the Canal Winchester Middle School cafeteria that would allow the school to have fewer lunch periods, serve more students during each lunch period, and schedule lunches closer to typical mealtimes. School leaders have identified this as a critical need that would have an immediate positive impact on the school because the current cafeteria is too small and forces CWMS to have 9 lunch periods each day, beginning as early as 9:30 a.m.
- An 8,000-square foot addition at Indian Trail to add six new classrooms, opening the possibility of offering all-day kindergarten to Canal Winchester families as soon as the 2024-2025 school year. Currently, the district does not have enough classrooms to offer all-day kindergarten to all students. Research has shown that all-day kindergarten has significant academic benefits for student success and closing the achievement gap, and currently about 40 additional students join the district in 1st grade each year after attending elsewhere for kindergarten.
The estimated cost of the two projects is approximately $5.3 million, which the district would fund from its current cash balance. The estimated timeline for the projects to be completed is the start of the 2024-2025 school year.
Also at the August Board Meeting, the Canal Winchester Board of Education approved two resolutions to apply for state funding for future facilities projects through partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
Board Members approved a resolution to apply to the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program (CFAP) with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. The CFAP program is a co-funding system that allows districts and the state to share costs for construction of new and renovated facilities. This resolution puts the district back into the state's funding system for school facilities so the district will be considered for funding in the future. The district is eligible for about 31 percent of basic construction costs from the OFCC.
The Board also approved a resolution of Intent to Participate in the Expedited Local Partnership Program (ELPP) with the OFCC. This resolution notifies the state that the district is planning to spend its own local funding to address facilities issues and asks the state to consider these investments the district is making when a funding offer from the state comes at a later date. If the Board’s application is approved, it means the district can make needed facilities improvements now and still get funding credit from the state later.
“The Board is pursuing acceptance into the state’s Expedited Local Partnership Program so that our community can benefit by receiving extra additional state funding for future projects,” said Treasurer Mr. Nick Roberts. “It’s our hope that the improvements we are making for today can also be an investment for our future.”
The district has advertised a Request for Qualifications for a Design Firm to assist with the potential facilities projects. After a Design Firm is in place, the district will advertise for Construction Manager At-Risk proposals and continue with planning and preparation work for potential construction.