Franklin board approves facilities plan including 4 new buildings

The Franklin Board of Education will hold a virtual graduation ceremony on June 5 for the Franklin High School Class of 2020. The original in-person graduation was scheduled for May 15 but was canceled due to the state Stay at Home orders as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. FILE PHOTO
The Franklin Board of Education will hold a virtual graduation ceremony on June 5 for the Franklin High School Class of 2020. The original in-person graduation was scheduled for May 15 but was canceled due to the state Stay at Home orders as a result of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. FILE PHOTO

An advisory committee has recommended that Franklin build four new schools and renovate another as part of its facilities plan for the coming years.

The board appointed the committee last fall to gather community input about its future facilities to modernize as well as accommodate future growth.

Karisa Steed and Matt Green presented the Commnity Advisory Team recommendation.

“The CAT built and of the CAT team and narrowed 16-plus original options,” Steed said.

The CAT narrowed that number to three final master plan options in which costs ranged between $105 million to $115 million. In its final recommendation, the team advised the master plan option of building a new high school for grades 9-12, renovating the current Franklin High School into a middle school for grades 6-8; and three new elementary schools. Two of the elementary schools would be pre-Kindergarten to grade 5, while the other elementary school would be Kindergarten to grade 5.

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The cost of that option is estimated at more than $107.2 million. The estimated share to be funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission is $61 million, or 57 percent, and the district’s share was estimated at $46 million or 43 percent.

Interim Treasurer Robert Guiffré said the estimated millage needed for a bond issue of this size is 5.5 mills. However, the actual millage will be determined by the Warren County Auditor’s Office this summer when the board begins the process to place the issue on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The CAT said this option rated the highest in a recent community survey, 3.77 on a scale of 5. In addition, the CAT said this option was preferred across all demographic groups; and that three elementary schools was preferred over two elementary schools and that the Hunter, Gerke and Pennyroyal sites were preferred. Superintendent Michael Sander also said the CAT recommended building the new high school behind the current junior high school on East Sixth Street.

The board did not identify the locations for the new elementary schools at its Monday meeting.

At Sander’s request, the board unanimously approved the facilities plan and begin the process to obtain funding through OSFC. Sander the OFSC would prepare a contract that the board will have to approve at its May 18 meeting. Once that is approved by the board, the district’s voters would have just more than a year to approve the bond issue for the new buildings.

Sander said the board will have approve a resolution of necessity at its June 22 meeting and a resolution to proceed at its July 27 meeting in order place the proposed bond issue on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The board also established board/community finance committee with veteran board members Chris Sizemore and Lori Raleigh volunteering to serve on it. The board will be creating a levy committee in the coming months.