ENGLEWOOD — The Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) will once again be on the ballot on Nov. 7, asking residents in its 27 partner districts to approve a bond issue for the remodeling and expansion of its main campus.
In May, the bond issue was rejected 52-48 percent by 27,000 voters in Miami, Montgomery, Darke, Preble, and Warren counties. Miami County voters were 54-46 percent in favor.
In Miami County, residents in the Bethel, Tipp City, Milton-Union and Miami East school districts will vote on this issue.
The funds generated by the 1.43 mill, 30-year bond issue would be used to address infrastructure issues, expand the center’s facilities and upgrade its technology. The state is funding 47 percent of the project.
The bond issue would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $4.17 per month, which would drop to about $3.18 per month after 10 years.
According to Superintendent Nick Weldy, MVCTC has not requested any separate facility money since its facilities were built in 1968 and the buildings’ aging infrastructure has led to an increase in safety concerns.
Passage of the bond issue would not only allow MVCTC to renovate and expand its facilities, it would also be an investment in the local economy.
“You hear about the skills gap and the lack of qualified workers and how it’s going to impact our economy and our region. You know, for those schools we serve, we’re the only school that provides those workers back out to those business owners,” Weldy said.
Weldy said there is high demand from area business owners for skilled, MVCTC-trained workers, but due to a lack of space on campus, the center turns away hundreds of students every school year.
“People have to understand, it’s an investment not only in the school, but it’s an investment in our economy and in our region,” he said. “Companies aren’t going to come here or stay here if we don’t have the human resources they have to have.”
Since the failure of the bond issue in May, issues with the campus’s aging infrastructure have become more apparent, Weldy said.
A water line failed this summer as students were arriving on campus to pick up their schedules, making certain areas of the buildings inaccessible for nearly a week. The school was fortunate it did not happen two weeks later, or it would have shut down all classes and operations for at least a week, Weldy said.
“We are currently on borrowed time with the underground water lines on campus,” Weldy said, adding that the pipes have been in the ground for 50 years. Due to the nature of the soil surrounding the pipes, the line rusted from the outside in. “This same scenario will eventually take place elsewhere on campus.”
He added that many of the campus’ major systems, including HVAC and electrical, are also in urgent need of replacement.
The center has experienced power outages and problems with the air conditioning, which gave out during a recent week of high temperatures. Students were shuffled around campus to cooler areas, no small feat on MVCTC’s crowded campus, Weldy said.
“We just had another power outage yesterday,” Weldy said on Wednesday. “It’s a constant battle.”
A recent Ohio School Facility Commission assessment listed dozens of structural issues, rating them from “satisfactory” to “needs repair or replacement.“
Issues in need of replacement, which necessitate more immediate action, include ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems, plumbing and fixtures, roofs and electrical systems. MVCTC’s facilities also face issues with brick peeling and exterior cracking, structural support failure and outdated equipment.
This November, this district is hoping for a higher voter turnout than in May, Weldy said. The district has tried to reach out to its large and diverse voter base through television, radio and newspaper advertising, mailing out letters and through social media, he added.
MVCTC serves more than 3,000 high school students and more than 5,000 adults in five counties, covering about 4,000 square miles. The school operates 13 satellite programs, including business and agriculture classes offered at Milton-Union.
This school year, the center is serving 663 students from Bethel, Milton-Union, Tipp City and Miami East, either at the main campus or at satellite campuses. That number is up by 222 students from last school year, according to Weldy, and continues to grow.
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