While first the Clear Fork Board of Education must decide a feasible elementary school option to present to district voters, board members along with SHP Leading Design need to decide on the most cost effective home for the potential elementary facilities.
“We are looking at five locations,” SHP Leading Design project manager Josh Pedrovich said of each property that is owned by the school district.
The potential sites are located the district owned Hamilton Hills property, the Oyster property, Clear Fork High School, Bellville Elementary and Butler Elementary.
A key factor in the decision is the fact that the district must fund the cost of bringing public utilities to any potential site lacking in gas, water, electric and sewer utilities.
“The state does not (fund) the cost of extending public utilities,” said Clear Fork School Board President Jim DeSanto. “This will increase the (construction) cost for sites not situated close to existing public utilities.”
“We are too much in the planning stages to know exact the costs (associated with any specific site),” Pedrovich said at the Oct. 21 public meeting.
Along with the potential startup cost issues at the undeveloped sites, the district’s developed locations also each pose issues.
Bellville Elementary School’s proximity to the village’s wastewater treatment plant was a cause of concern for several residents who spoke up during the course of the Oct. 21 public meeting. The odor caused by the facility was cited as a reason not construct a new elementary school on the site.
“We have had conversations with the village,” said DeSanto to the concerned resident. “They assured that they are taking care of the odor problem.”
“We have spent millions to correct the problem,” said Bellville Mayor Darrell Banks at the Oct. 21 meeting. “I can’t promise you it will quit smelling 100 percent, but we are working on it.”
The Butler Elementary School site could also pose an issue for Bellville residents should the district decide to construct a consolidated elementary facility at that location.
The sheer size of the 110 square mile district is a logistical issue for busing students from the farthest reaches of Clear Fork.
When asked about getting elementary students from Bellville to Butler, Clear Fork Superintendent Janice Wyckoff stated that “it would be quite a haul.”
The superintendent reminded those in attendance the district currently aims to avoid any school bus commute that is over an hour for students.
Despite questions from Clear Fork residents, no concrete decision was reached and the issue will be decided in the coming weeks by school board members.
“What I am interested in hearing from people on what is the best configuration for the community and the kids,” said DeSanto. He and Wyckoff urged residents to complete the district’s survey that was mailed to all registerd voters within the Clear Fork Local School District.
The school board is required by the state to make a decision within 30 days, in order to get a funding issue on the upcoming March ballot.
Clear Fork School district listen to the presentation on new elementary school construction.
Reach Jones on Twitter @Bellville_Jones or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org