HOWARD — The facilities core group committee for East Knox Local School District spent another session Tuesday discussing the options facing the district for the renovation or replacement of the junior/senior high school.

Representatives of Fanning Howey architectural firm of Dublin provided estimates on the costs of various options and went over the information produced by the December meeting. They also showed aerial photos of the buildings showing some of the problems on the roofs of the older buildings, including standing water on one section.

Cost was the most significant issue raised at the last session in December, so they provided some cost estimates.

The options looked at were to tear down everything east of the 1994 addition and build a new school for grades 7 to 12; option two would be to tear down everything east of the 1994 addition and build a new 9-12 high school and move grades 7 and 8 up to the elementary school; option three would be to tear down the entire junior/senior high school (including the 1994 gym, and build a pre-K to 12 building on the hill; and option four, to tear down everything east of the gym and build a grade 6 to 12 school in its place, keeping pre-K to 5 on the hill.

Cost estimates for 2019 for each option are $19 million for option 1, $18.7 million for option 2, $17.4 million for option 3 and $22.3 million for option 4.

They also provided millage estimates to pay for anything from $18 million to $26 million, which would be 3.9 to 4.3 mills on the low end, costing a property owner between $136 and $150 per year per $100,000 in value, and 5.5 to 6.0 mills for the $26 million project, costing a property owner $192 to $210 per $100,000.

A vote of the 15 people present indicated a preference for option 3, but there was sentiment for keeping the gym in order to have an auxiliary facility. During the discussion which followed, one person raised the question about how decreasing class sizes should be figured in and another was heard to comment, “I don’t like any of them; all we need are classrooms.”

The architects also provided figures on options that might come up, such as extra classrooms ($350,000 each), the cost of keeping the 1994 addition (from $500,000 to $1 million) because of work that is needed, and the cost of modular classrooms that might be needed.

Tim Hamilton from Fanning Howey also said they will likely need to build in some contingency money to cover inflation or unexpected costs.

Asked about the process so far, Hamilton said they were still in the preliminary stages, with a lot of information and options to digest.

One of the options touched on only briefly near the end of the discussion was whether a new high school would be one or two stories. Because of space, the consultants said, a new school on the hill would have to be two stories.

Superintendent Steve Larcomb said they are making progress, but there is a lot to talk about before the committee makes any recommendations.

Hamilton also reminded the committee to think about what arguments voters might be receptive to.


Chuck Martin: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews




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