Why did we engage in a Facility Master Planning process?
New Philadelphia Schools face critical decisions about our facilities and our future. Our enrollment has grown significantly over the last four years and we believe that trend will continue. Our facilities are overcrowded; some students are learning in modular structures or in a space meant for non-educational purposes. We are doing what we can with what we have, but it is not a strong long-term solution. Further, the current designs of our buildings are not optimal for the safety and security of our students, although we have made strides toward improvements. A recent facility review identified $14.5 million dollars in maintenance needs - just to keep our buildings open - so the status quo is not an option.
If we act now, the state of Ohio will pay more than half of the cost - 55% - meaning this is the right time to ensure the best value.
Why does the bond issue need to happen now?
If we act now, the State of Ohio will contribute 55% of the cost of renovating or replacing our buildings – this means that over half of a project will be funded by the state. The time to act is now and we want to do this right. We had a comprehensive Facilities Master Planning Process to engage staff, experts, parents and our community to determine our best course of action moving forward. After over six months of community input and more than 1,200 people engaged, the Board of Education accepted the Community Committee’s Recommendations. The community was clear - do this project right and build now for our future.
The Master Plan will consolidate elementary schools into one building and build a combined middle and high school both on the current Oak Shadows Golf Club property. (The District will now perform our due diligence by completing a comprehensive land analysis, see below for more information).
What is the overall plan?
The Master Plan will consolidate elementary schools into one building and build a combined middle and high school both on the current Oak Shadows Golf Club property. This means we can move from 8 buildings to 2 and save nearly $600,000 every year in operating costs while providing a more equitable education and opportunities to all of our students.
Why is this the Right Plan at the Right Time?
If we act now the State of Ohio will contribute 55% of the cost of renovating or replacing our buildings – this means that over half of a project will be funded by the state. If we do not take advantage of this opportunity from the State, that funding will be offered to another school district.
For $16.14* per month per $100K in home valuation, we will be able to address all our needs.
This Plan provides:
Addresses our safety & security issues
Reduces operating costs - thus delaying the need for new operating funds
Provides for the next 50 years of education
Will reflect our community’s vision and input, now and in the future
Most cost-effective, short term and long term solution for our students and community.
Is the state of Ohio helping us at all?
The State of Ohio will contribute about 55% for a capital facility project that meets their guidelines. However, we must act now because if we don’t pass a local issue within a certain timeframe, the 55% will be offered to another district and New Philadelphia will lose the opportunity.
What was considered through the Master Planning process?
All options and factors impacting a school district were considered. Stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss and have the district report out on any topic they wished. Among the items considered, the list below is where the majority of the collaboration and discussions revolved around.
Current Maintenance & Repair Needs - $14.5 Million
Where Students are Located/Live
Operating Costs for Keeping All Current Buildings
How to Maximize State Share
Collaborated with Local Leaders & Elected Officials
Local Educational Experts Knowledge & Opinions
Local Safety/Security Experts Knowledge & Opinions
What were the consensus points from the over six month community engagement process?
We heard very clearly to “DO WHAT IS BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE!” There was much consensus during the community engagement process, including:
Safety & Security Should be Paramount
Consider Traffic & Accessibility for Parents and Adjacent Areas
Keep and Expand Educational Excellence & Equity of Opportunity for All Students
Weigh the Overall Cost to Build & Operate and Make Sure the District can Operate the new Buildings
Other consensus points
Must reduce the number of buildings from eight to one or two sites
Safety/security and educational excellence are paramount concerns
Cost is largely the same whether one or two buildings
Don’t spend $14.5 million on repairs for existing buildings – would rather use that money for our overall plan
The time is now because OFCC pays 55% of the costs if we pass our issue in March
Where repairs and/or remodeling considered?
Yes. All options were explored. The State of Ohio conducts an assessment of existing buildings before agreeing to co-fund the project. If our buildings cost too much to renovate, the state requires new construction. Given the current state of the facilities, we are not eligible for the 55% State share if we repair and/or remodel our existing buildings because of the cost-it is less expensive long term to build new. Combining buildings and remodeling with additions were also considered. However, the options that included repairing, remodeling, and/or adding onto our current facilities would have cost much more to our local residents both in building and in operations.
How much would it cost to keep our current facilities functional - maintain & repair our current facilities?
There are nearly $14.5 million in known facilities repair costs over the next ten years. Below shows the cost to the New Philadelphia City School District if we did nothing but maintain and repair our current facilities. This cost does not address overcrowding, educational needs, or the safety and security concerns with our current facilities. Further, adding these costs to our annual costs would require new money much sooner than if we complete our Master Plan.
What land was considered for the new facilities?
The District looked for options that would provide ample space for educational planning, in a cost-effective way, in an accessible location. Some areas that were very closely reviewed and considered were the downtown area, the current mall site, near KSU-TUSC, and the Southside. However, we did not want eminent domain or inflated land costs. After that process and analysis, one option clearly became the best option for our district.
Why is the property of the current Oak Shadows Golf Club the right location?
The current Oak Shadows Golf Club is just over 280 acres. This gives the District many options to properly plan a layout to optimize education, safety, traffic flow, & parking. This offers enough land for practice fields which will eliminate the need to bus students to practice daily. This property also allows for future growth. This property is within the city of New Philadelphia and is close to Tuscarora Park. It is also accessible through multiple roads that our traffic engineers can optimize. Click here for all reports Click here for more information.
What are some next steps with determining the suitability of the Oak Shadows Golf Club Property?
The District will complete a due diligence analysis that includes:
Each of these are in progress, but could not actually begin until we had a contract with the property owner. If the studies show that the land is not suitable for our facilities, the contract is voided. These results will be able to address any concerns with regards to water, flooding, traffic, and the overall suitability for the NPCSD to build on this property. Click here for all reports
Click here for more information.
How will this Bond Issue impact the future needs for operating funds?
The District will not ask for new operating money until at least 2025 if a bond issue passes in part because the Master Plan will save nearly $600,000 in annual operating expenses. Without a bond issue, and if we have to spend $14.5 million just to maintain our existing buildings, a new money request could come as early as 2021.
Below is what our District looks like with or without the bond issue:
What do safety & security experts say is best?
The safety and security of all students and staff is a primary focus. Policies and procedures are important to this process. However, facilities and their design are critical to ensuring everyone's safety. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission helps design schools to meet all safety and security recommendations and guidelines. Learn more here. The New Philadelphia City School District partners with local experts to help design and practice their safety plans, policies, and procedures. Below is a video from Tuscarawas County Sheriff and New Philadelphia community member, Orvis Campbell.
Click on picture for video
What are the benefits of unifying grade levels within the district?
Many people have asked great questions about the benefits of unifying grade levels versus our current system. We are all knowledgeable about the benefits and negatives of our current model of multiple neighborhood elementary schools. Therefore we have the following information regarding the benefits of unifying grade levels.
Social Emotional Benefits
What is our cost per pupil and how does that compare?
The district works to be good stewards of the community’s tax dollars. Therefore, we operate as effectively and efficiently as possible to ensure each child is provided an excellent and personalized educational experience. The New Philadelphia CSD’s cost per pupil in 2018 was $8,044 while the state average was $9,353. This puts the district in the lowest 20% in the state.
What percent of funds are spent on classroom instruction and how does that compare?
The New Philadelphia City Schools puts a high priority in allocating funds to have the greatest impact on each child. 71.4% of all funds are spent directly on classroom instruction. The state average is only 67.6%. This puts the district in the top 15% in the state!
How many students do not attend the elementary school in their neighborhood?
251 elementary students who live in the New Philadelphia School District attend an elementary school other than their neighborhood school. There are a total of 1,433 current K-5th graders attending NPCSD. Therefore, about 17.5% of our elementary students attend a school other than their neighborhood school. Additional requests are made each year that cannot be granted due to space, staffing, and/or class size.
If we eliminated Open Enrollment and/or Building Transfers would that take care of our overcrowding issues at our elementary schools?
The short answer is no. Currently there are 45 open enrolled students attending one of our five elementary schools. Open enrollment and building transfers requests are closely monitored. This is done annually to ensure no additional staffing or space is required. It is also reviewed to more evenly distribute students to help with class sizes. Ending open enrollment will not fix overcrowding, use of modulars, or the cost to operate eight buildings.
Do we have existing space to add more classrooms?
The short answer is no. We do not have empty rooms. Our elementary schools do an amazing job of fully utilizing the space they have. In fact, each elementary school has transformed multiple spaces that were originally designed as non-educational spaces into educational spaces (e.g. storage areas, end of hallways, stages, locker rooms). We also have 9 modular units at our elementary schools used for instruction. We have added storage sheds since many of the storage areas have been converted to educational spaces. A Preliminary Space Analysis by OHM shows we are at least 10% under the recommended square footage for our student population. This is less than optimal for our students learning environments.
Are we doing this to “Keep up with the Jones”?
No. We are acting now because the New Philadelphia Schools faces overcrowding, inadequate educational spaces, aging buildings, less than optimal facilities with regards to safety & security, along with rising operating and maintenance costs. If we act now, the state of Ohio will pay more than half the cost - 55% if a bond issue is successful.
Our District purposely took our time to engage our community, study our options, and consider both operating and construction costs in our financial projections. After more than a year of study and six months of community engagement, acting now is the best course of action for our district today - and in the future.
Where can I learn more about other Ohio Facilities Construction Commission projects and the OFCC in general?
Here is a link to the current schools co-funded by the OFCC during the period 2012 – 2018. It gives you an idea of what is out there and the many options we have to best suit our community.
The map is searchable by type of school building, student population, future ready school examples (21C), or by LEED certifications. Once you click on an icon, you will find a summary description of the project, fact sheet, and photo gallery.