WMS' razing to result in significant savings

Next year, seventh, eighth graders will study in 400 wing of high school
Aaron Krause
Nov 18, 2012

By razing Willard Middle School, the district will not only save $458,000 from the cost of the new building, but more than $114,000 in utility bills, superintendent Jeff Ritz said.

Board of education members recently voted to raze the middle school at the end of the school year. As a result of that move, beginning next school year, seventh- and eighth-graders will study in the 400 wing of the high school. Those students will be kept as separate as possible from high school students, Ritz said, although he added there will be "very limited" inter-mixing.

Willard Middle School currently houses fifth- through eighth graders. Starting next school year, the New Haven and Richmond buildings will house grades four, five and six. School officials will determine which students attend which schools by boundaries similar to the current ones, Ritz said.

Currently, New Haven and Richmond are grades three and four buildings, divided by boundaries.

Next year, Central Elementary will become a pre-school through third-grade building.

Stories with more details about the project, including cost savings, reasons for the decision, reaction and timeline, were published on the front page of the Reflector last week.

Comments

arnmcrmn

With over a 1/2 a million in savings, I think the school board and our staff are making the right call here. It shows financial responsibility. Some will complain one way or the other, but with this type of savings, you are making the right call.

believe it

The school board was in a tough situation because you know if they didn't do this people would complain about it but now that they are I'm sure some people will complain too about the mess this could cause for the next two years. Good choice though to do it, IMO.

ferball14

With that much savings, why not make it all permanent, forget the new school, give us our tax money back and stop asking for more money? And if running out of room is a.future problem, then reopen the stuben school. Just a thought!!

arnmcrmn

@ferball. You cannot make it permanent. There isn't enough room. They are making due with what they have to make ends meet till the new building is up and running. The days of having 6 school buildings in a small community like Willard are over with....Thank God. The maintenance and busing and long term outlook of keeping these old buildings up and running was not cost effective. Consolidating to one building was going to happen one way or the other, and look at the bright side, the state has paid the majority of the bill (Tobacco Settlement money).

ferball14

Why not reopen stuben? Why ask for more money after we already voted for a levy to raise money for a new school? What about the rumors of declining enrollment? If they are making due with what they have then it must be working out ok. And therefore I'm sticking to my argument of making it permanent. I would even compromise and say make it permanent, stash away the cash they are saving, give us our tax money back and in a few years build the new school with the money they saved all on their own. It just sounds ignorant, "lets do something that works to save us ALOT of money but ask tax payers for more money after they are already giving us money for something that does not need to be done because the school population is declining." I guess i could be missing something but whatever. It is what it is......

arnmcrmn

The state is paying a one time, take it or leave it check to willard for 61% of the new building. This money cannot be used to renovate current school buildings that do not meet the requirements set by the settlement money that Ohio received. Many of the outlying school classrooms have dwindled down to so few students that it wasn't cost effective to pay a teach to teach 5 students a day. That is a fact, not an opinion. Many of the outlying schools are in horrible shape and would need a ton done to fix them up.....and for what, so 30 kids can go to that school. Like I said, the days of having Richmond, New Haven, Central, Greenfield, The Middle School and High School were one day going to come to an end. Just think of all the utilities, property tax, upkeep...etc that has to be paid for each and every year so that a couple dozen families could have a school right down the road from where there live. It just isn't feasible anymore. Also, you cannot tear down the Jr High and shove all these students into the High School. There is only one gym and not enough classrooms. I think you really don't see all the issues that would come from this. Short term while they build, sure, you make due, most schools do the same thing Willard is doing, but long term, it wont work.

To build a new school a few years down the road? Do you honestly know what it costs to build a new school. If you don't stop in the High School and ask, its a lot. Dwindling enrollment is why building one building IS a great move right now. The gas you save on busing, upkeep...etc will save this school district a ton long term.

believe it

Is this guy(ferball14) serious? You say "I guess could be missing something"...yeah, you're missing quite a bit of things. First you want to keep all the junior high kids in the high school? I don't think you realize how crowded it's going to be. When they say declining enrollment, we're not talking hundreds of kids a year, maybe just a couple. To keep that many kids in the high school for years and years just isn't doable. Second, stash away the money we save and build a new school a few years down the road? You know how many years it would take to save up 50 million dollars(or whatever the cost is of the new school, I know it's something around 50). You really need to get out from under your rock and see what's going on, get some numbers, get some information, etc. because you obviously have no clue what you're talking about.

arnmcrmn

@believe it. I've come to the realization that 75% of posters on any forum actually post without researching or knowing all the facts when it comes to things like this. Willard has lost a few kids over the years, but like you said, not even close enough to even fathom condensing what we currently have all to one building (Jr High and High School). Will it be a big cluster for the time being....absolutely. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that there is a new school coming, and this will be a quick year or two until this consolidation is over with.

Its just financially responsible to make this move on the state's dollar (for the most part). This is the truth. If the schools refused to use the state money, or the voters turned down the levy to build new, the school would of had no choice to go to the voter in the next year or two for a significant chunk of change to renovate nearly every building. Im not a fan of cutting positions, but the schools have shown the voter how responsible they are by cutting positions that they will not need in the future, and have also let it be known that certain jobs will not be replaced due to attrition (when a teacher retires).

Last time I checked diesel gas is expensive. Imagine the tens of thousands of dollars they will be saving each and every year by not having to drive from the bus garage to the outlying schools, back and forth, each and every single day. I would easily imagine the overall utility bills and grounds upkeep will be cut significantly by putting all the students in Willard in one building.

Its a good move whether some agree with it or not, and this is coming from someone who hates new taxes, is a Republican and does not even have a child in the school system in Willard.

Dr. Information

Can't grip about saving the tax payers over a half a million dollars can ya? Oh, wait, its the Reflector, just give it time.