NEW FRANKLIN Voters in the Manchester Local School District will decide whether the district can move forward with a plan to improve its facilities.
On Nov. 5, voters will decide on Issue 8, an 8.78-mill bond levy, which will help fund $34 million in improvements to several facilities.
District officials say the bond issue is necessary because the buildings are aging and time is running out for the state to fund a bulk of the improvements. Nolley Elementary School opened in 1961, with an addition in 1968. The high school opened in 1959, with an addition in 1974. The district’s central office opened in 1928.
This isn't the first time the district has put a bond issue before voters recently, but the district believes this is the best plan moving forward at the right cost.
In 2009, voters defeated a $46.3 million project. Then in 2016, voters defeated a $47.6 million project by a close vote.
If Issue 8 is approved, a new 9-12 high school will be built and the existing high school will be remodeled and updated for pre-K to grade 5. Nolley Elementary School and the old Nimisila building will be demolished; the middle school trailers will be removed; and a new football/soccer complex will be constructed with a new track, field house and baseball field.
The district's central office will be moved to the old high school and the current central administrative building will be closed.
The new high school is expected to be built on the space occupied by the high school baseball field. The new multi-sport stadium will be constructed on the site of the soccer and track complex and the new baseball field will be constructed on the site of Nolley Elementary.
Manchester will partner with the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), which will fund 41 percent of the new high school. This is the most funding the OSFC has offered the district.
The cost to homeowners of a $100,000 tax-assessed home by the auditor (not market value) is $25.61 per month.
Superintendent James Robinson said this issue is a great opportunity for the community. He said the district is not just updating the academic aspect, but extracircular facilities, too.
Plus, Robinson said, by closing the old buildings, the district will save money.
“We are trying to be as efficient as possible,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the district is going to get new facilities at some point, it is just a matter of when and how much it will cost.
“The problem is not going to go away,” Robinson said.
He said if voters don’t approve the issue, the district would essentially go to the back of the line for state funding for new facilities.
If the bond issue is approved, portions of the existing high school remodel will begin almost immediately.
After a 200 to 300 day design period, construction would begin on the new high school. Construction of athletic facilities would begin upon the completion of the school projects and demolition of the existing elementary school.
More information about the levy can be found at yesformanchester.org.