CNE asks $1.9 million for school building

May 28th, 2010    Author: Brett A. Roller    Filed Under: News

The Clermont North Eastern Local School District has several projects planned for the summer in preparation for the closing of the Owensville Elementary School.

Board member Mike Freeman announced that the district will be listing the Owensville school for a sale price of $1.19 million for the building and 10.9 acres. Freeman said the bond issue debt remaining on the building is $1.2 million and the Board hopes to remove the 2 mill property tax from the bond issue once the property is sold.

"We can always go lower but we can't go higher," Freeman said of the price.

He also said the Board chose not to set the list price at $1.2 million because they want to sell the property sooner to limit property maintenance costs while the property is on the market.

"We have been approached by some people who have offered to buy the property for between $300,000 and $400,000 if we tear that building down," Freeman said. "I'm not willing to do that."

The Board also responded to members of the audience requesting that the Board reconsider the 3 mills that were transferred from the general fund to the property improvement fund in December after a levy failed in November. The move dropped the general fund millage below the state required 20 mills, so state law requires the Board to increase its general fund millage to 20 mills, essentially enacting a 3 mill tax increase. The property improvement fund is used for facilities maintenance, text books, technology upgrades and other non-salary items.

Board President Patricia Spencer said the increase was necessary.

"The 3 mills will give us the ability to have an safe environment for our students," Spencer said.

Freeman said he supported the increase.

"I appreciate your concerns but this is something I feel very strongly about," Freeman said. "Once we sell the building it will drop to about $41 on $100,000 house. People say they can't afford that but what they're really saying is their beer or pop is more important than their kids."

The millage changes will go into effect January of 2011.

The Owensville elementary school will be vacated this summer.

This fall the elementary students will be moving to the middle school and middle school students will move to the early childhood education center building. The school will be contracting with local businesses to make several upgrades to the main CNE campus in an effort to prepare for the move, at an estimated cost of $675,000. The Board of Education voted last fall to discontinue use of the Owensville school to control rising maintenance costs.

The upgrades focus on the ECEC building and include the installation of an air conditioning system that will bring air conditioning to the half of the building that is not being served by the current system. The only remaining areas that will not be air conditioned will be the gymnasium and cafeteria. While every classroom in the building will now be air conditioned, District Treasurer Brian Switzer said the system currently covering the rear of the building is about 20 years old and will need to be replaced soon.

Facilities Maintenance Company of Felicity was awarded several of the summer's projects including painting the gymnasium and finishing the tile work in the building as well as painting on the second floor. The school will also see about $59,000 in plumbing upgrades.

District Technology Director Andy Seals will be purchasing and installing updated equipment for the security and surveillance system in the new elementary school. Seals said the bids received from the project would meet the schools' needs and he said having it done by school personnel would ensure the job was done exactly as the school wants it. The system was originally installed in 1999.

Upgrades include all new security cameras, a digital recording system, and access to the cameras from the principal's computer, as well as remote access for the Clermont County Sheriff's Department.

Seals will also be over seeing the installation of a wireless network system at each of the three buildings at the main campus system. Access to the wifi system by students will be limited.

The parking lot at the main CNE campus will be be expanded and repave between June 25 and July 31. The Clermont County Engineer's Office worked with the school to develop the specification requirements and in addition to adding space and consolidating the lots, the project will improve the fire lanes and drop off lanes to each building. The entire cost for repaving was approved in a contract with Roberts Paving at $188,270. Roberts was chosen because they have their own asphalt plant and therefore their price is much lower.

The district will also be moving much of the playground equipment from elementary school to the ECEC playground, which will be fenced in. The fence will create a U shape around the playground to limit student access to the lake while maintaining the green space for practice fields.
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