Tipp board discusses construction, stadium

By Cecilia Fox - cfox@civitasmedia.com

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City Board of Education held a special work session meeting Thursday night to discuss plans for the district’s upcoming building project.

The board heard from the district’s architect about the planning process for the prekindergarten through third grade building that will be constructed on the Broadway site. Architect Mike Ruetschle explained some of the preliminary work going into the building plan.

“We’re starting to identify the size of the building, the spaces of the building,” he said.

Currently the architects are planning for enough classroom space to house 200 students at each grade level, Ruetschle said. He pointed out that a locally funded project allows more control over the size of the building, allowing the district to include extra space for future growth.

The board is aiming to have the project on the March ballot and to keep the millage under 4 mills, Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said. The current estimate is at 3.99 mills.

The board directed Treasurer Dave Stevens to have more information about millage rates available for discussion at next meeting on Sept. 28.

The board also discussed plans for another phase of construction to deal with the district’s intermediate and middle schools.

Kumpf said that her goal is to get a plan for phase two straightened out during the construction of phase one, so that the project continues to move forward. She explained that she wants to plan for another bond issue to be on the ballot in November 2018.

“We have funding that becomes available in July 2018, we’ll have the momentum of moving into a new building in August, and I am hoping that the community will feel inspired by that and be ready for the next step,” Kumpf said.

The board also expressed concerns that building too large in phase one might negatively impact phase two if the district does decide to accept state co-funding for another building project.

Earlier this year, the Ohio School Facilities Commission reduced the amount of new building space they would co-fund because the district’s high school was too big by state standards.

The board also touched on the district’s athletic facilities, with several members saying they’d like to see a solution sooner rather than later.

Board member Scott Dixon brought up the possibility of another bond issue for stadium construction on the ballot at the same time as the building construction issue.

“It’s well past due,” board president Tom Merritt said.

Board member Carla Frame said that, though new athletic facilities are needed, putting both on the ballot at the same time could be problematic and distract from the school building project.

“I know that the need exists,” Kumpf said. “It’s just that instructional space is paramount to me. I’m uncomfortable with both of them being on the March ballot.”

Dixon suggested asking community for $5 million to construct stadium, either at City Park or high school.

Ruetschle said that $5 million would build a stadium either at either location, but the outcome would depend on the scale of the project and the cost of site work.

The board also directed the treasurer to look into millage rates for a possible stadium bond issue. A quick estimate determined that the project could require a .7 mill levy, which would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $25.

“Since three of us are leaving at the end of the year, we can make a recommendation based on that data, but it will all be up to next year’s board to cast it in stone,” Dixon said.

By Cecilia Fox