NEW BREMEN — New Bremen residents gathered at the elementary building Tuesday night to take a tour of the building and to hear a presentation about the possibility of a renovation or constructing a new building.
New Bremen Board of Education members and administrators led residents through several stops throughout the elementary building, pointing out problems with the building.
“What we showed you tonight was the worst (of the building),” Board of Education President Keith Bornhorst said.
Attendees were shown a variety of rooms and problem areas at the school, including several classrooms, the boiler room, the kitchen and the big gymnasium among others. Pictures of the corroding pipes that lie mostly beneath the school floors were hung throughout the tour route.
“What we decided to do tonight is show everyone what is going on below the surface,” Superintendent Ann Harvey said, noting that the large problems with the school lie in the plumbing, electric and heating.
The plumbing, Harvey noted, is difficult to repair and maintain at the current elementary building.
“Our plumbing is all underneath the building in tunnels so it’s hard to get to,” Harvey said. “We do fix them (the pipes) as we can but they are difficult to get to and patch.”
Different colored tile on the floor can be found in several classrooms Harvey said.
“You’ll see in a lot of our classrooms we have different colored tiles and that’s because of water damage,” she said, noting that the building is located on a low spot in town and water seeps into the building.
Residents were also shown a fan installed in 1929.
“The fan pulls fresh air in,” Harvey said. “There is no filtration system controlling any air quality.”
Following the tour, attendees filled the small gymnasium to hear a presentation from Freytag and Associates and the New Bremen Board of Education. In the presentation, Bornhorst explained the total cost for constructing a new building would be approximately $19 million. The school would receive approximately $6.8 million in state funding through the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), given that the building meets the OSFC standards, leaving the local share at approximately $12.2 million. The cost to renovate the current elementary building is approximately $12.4 million. Bornhorst said that because of the funding history of the OSFC, it is unlikely that the commission would fund the renovation.
“It’s highly unlikely that they would even consider a co-funded renovation of this building,” Bornhorst said.
Bornhorst also presented the community with a third option of constructing a new building with updates including flooring, roofing, new technology and a connector to the high school, with a local share of approximately $13.3 million.
“These updates would make the new K-8 building consistent with what our high school is,” Bornhorst said.
Larry Ludlow, of Freytag and Associates, said that according to the OSFC’s Program of Requirements, only approximately 55,000 square feet of the new building would be partially funded through the state share because the OSFC will only pay for a K-6 building. The plan for the new building is to be approximately 80,000 square feet, adding room for the extra two grades and more room in the gymnasium among other areas.
Treasurer Debra Meyer said the school needs approximately 7.5 mills for the new building. She noted that the high school had 8.86 mills.
“In 1996, the millage for the high school building was 8.86 for four grade levels,” Meyer said. “We’re going to house nine grade levels instead of four and our millage is 7.5.”
Meyer said the 7.5 mills would costs tax payers $229.60 annually for a $100,000 house. Meyer broke the cost for a homeowner with a $100,000 house down to $19.14 a month, $4.42 a week and 62 cents a day.
Bornhorst stressed the importance of doing something to the building, even though the state has not mandated that the district take action.
“The state is not mandating that we do anything, but it comes down to the quality of education that we provide to our students,” he said. “To me, doing nothing and just band-aiding the problem is not an option.”
At the end of the meeting, the school board and administration asked attendees to fill out a survey ranking the three options in order of what they would prefer to see happen. The sheet also allowed space for more feedback. For anyone who was unable to attend to tour and presentation, information and pictures will be available on the district’s website today. Harvey noted that in addition to the information online, there are several options for people who missed the tour.
“We are certainly willing to do tours for groups or we could put the pictures on a DVD and come to the group to make a presentation,” she said.
Harvey encouraged anyone who was unable to attend and still had questions or feedback to contact the administration or the Board of Education.