After meeting for several months, the steering committee recommended to the Board of Education that the district consolidates from 6 old schools to 3 new schools. In July, the Board agreed to send the issue to the voters, allowing the community to decide the future of the school district and its students.
If voters approve the issue, the project will include one K-4 elementary at the Lee Eaton site, one 5-8 middle school (with 5th/6th graders in separate wings from 7th/8th graders) at the current high school site, and one 9-12 high school at the current high school site. The current high school and Lee Eaton would be demolished. The fate of the other schools (Northfield, Rushwood, the current middle school, and Ledgeview) is yet to be determined. While the master plan includes projected costs to demolish the buildings, the Board will investigate all options, including selling the closed buildings and donating them to the municipalities.
The bond issue will be 7.75 mills, with the annual cost being $271.26 for each $100,000 of valuation for 37 years. The total project cost will be around $165 million. Renovating all of the district’s current schools would cost around $136 million, an estimate that has increased from $118 million just three years ago.
It is important for the community to know that the District currently has two Bond Levies that will be ending in the near future. One Bond Levy will retire after the collection year 2025 and the other Bond Levy will retire after the collection year 2030. The retirement of these bond levies will remove approximately 2.86 mills from the tax rolls, making the net increase to taxpayers less than five mills in the near future.
If the issue passes, the design phase will come later. Families should expect buildings that have the latest safety and security features, flexible use of space, climate comfort (air conditioning in all buildings), and state-of-the-art technology. A grades 5-12 campus at the high school will allow the district to share programming and resources. Going from six buildings to three will allow the district to have more equitable class sizes and realize operational savings.
The first buildings could open for the 2026-27 school year. Most likely the middle school and elementary school will be built first. The high school should be done by the 2028-29 school year. It is likely that students need to swing between buildings while the project is being completed. In other words, there will be some growing pains as the project is completed, but the final project will be one that the community can be proud of for decades to come.
This has been a community-led initiative. We are grateful to the steering committee for putting together such a wonderful plan. Nordonia schools are among the oldest in the region. Our buildings average 71 years old and range from 52 to 106 years old. Nordonia students will go to school in comfortable, safe buildings suitable for 21st-century education. Should the bond issue pass, the project will set the standard for Nordonia education for the next 50-75 years, will bring the community together, and be a source of great pride.