By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools officials have begun the process of creating a new Master Facility Plan to address the district’s growing enrollment and building needs.
The district’s Facilities Planning Committee includes Superintendent Garilee Ogden, Deputy Superintendent Jamie Grube, Treasurer Felicia Drummey, and school board members Libby Gray and Kathy Walsh.
“We want the school board to be involved in the process,” said Ogden at the Groveport Madison Board of Education’s Jan. 26 meeting.
Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner said district administration officials will bring to the board, at its Feb. 9 meeting, a proposal to hire a firm to lead the planning process for the Master Facility Plan.
“We want a company that can engage the community in a meaningful way,” said Warner.
Ogden said her team has been meeting with architectural firms and hearing presentations.
“I feel confident bringing to the board a recommendation (for a facility planning firm) at the next meeting,” said Ogden. “Obviously we will have parents from across the district involved in this process.”
Warner said the creation of the Master Facility Plan could take at least a year and the plan must be approved by the board. He said steps in the process include: hiring a company to complete updated enrollment projections; an architect to complete a facilities assessment to explore what buildings could be renovated, expanded, or replaced; and the creation of the Master Facility Plan that includes input from and engages with the community.
Warner said the district will follow Ohio Facilities Construction Commission guidelines in creating the Master Facility Plan.
“We do not know when funding from the OFCC will be available so we want to get ahead,” said Warner. “We need space due to our growth and it will be good to have a plan ready for when the OFCC says money is available.”
As of October 2021 (the customary time frame the Ohio Department of Education uses to calculate enrollment), the district had 6,271 students. In comparison, enrollment was 5,569 in 2015-16.
“Overcrowding is the central issue we’re facing, but other factors that must be considered in the facilities planning process include the age, condition, efficiency, adaptability, and cost to maintain our existing elementary and middle schools,” said Warner. “It’s important to keep all of these factors in the forefront of the discussion.”
According to Warner, the district has 24 modular classrooms in use. There is a single quad-classroom unit at Groveport Elementary, two double-classroom units at Asbury Elementary and Dunloe Elementary, and six double-classroom units at Sedalia Elementary.
District officials indicated it is not known at this time as to when a bond issue to fund new schools or school improvements could appear before the voters on the ballot.
Buildings’ capacity and enrollments
Here are the capacity and enrollments (as of December 2021) for Groveport Madison’s elementary and middle schools (a new 240,000 square foot, 1,500 student high school opened in 2018):
•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 476. Functional capacity, 425.
•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425.
•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 455. Functional capacity, 425.
•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923. Enrollment, 417. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
•Madison Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 354. Functional capacity, 425.
•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 562. Functional capacity, 446.
•Middle School North – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 495. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School South – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 466. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Enrollment, 448. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
However, since December, Warner said now every building in the district, except for Madison Elementary, is over capacity.
(Functional capacity is 85 percent of original design capacity and reflects modern requirements for classroom space and programming. Source: Groveport Madison Schools.)
Refinancing saves district money
Groveport Madison Treasurer Felicia Drummey told the Groveport Madison Board of Education on Jan. 26 that the district was able to save money by refinancing some of its debt.
“It’s real money,” said Drummey. “It’s real savings.”
She said the refinancing lowered the interest cost on the new high school from 4.1 percent to 2.98 percent, which is an estimated total cash savings over the remaining term of bonds of $5.3 million, or about $206,790 per year starting in 2023.
Additionally, the refinancing of the administrative District Service Center building lowered the interest cost from 3.69 percent to 2.26 percent, which is an estimated total cash savings over the remaining term of $813,285, or about $62,000 per year starting in 2023.