Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of stories regarding the potential renovation or replacement of Xenia High School and Warner Middle School. This story discusses the options the district is considering.
By Scott Halasz
XENIA — Four viable options have emerged as Xenia Community School District officials decide the future of a pair of buildings.
As assessment completed by the Ohio School Facilities Commission concluded that Xenia High School and Warner Middle School need renovations and expansions approaching $50 million. Like it did with the district’s elementary school project — during which all elementary buildings were replaced — the OSFC will kick in approximately half the total cost.
The master plan includes building a combined high school-middle school building; building new high school and middle school buildings at separate locations; building a new high school and renovating the current high school into a middle school; and renovating and expanding the current buildings. With the first two options, the existing buildings would be demolished. The third option includes demolishing just Warner at the conclusion of the work.
Each of the options come with advantages and disadvantages, and of course each comes with its own price tag.
The combined-building concept is not new for smaller school districts. Cedar Cliff Local Schools in Greene County, along with Milton-Union in Miami County are two of several with the single-building concept.
The proposed building for Xenia would be approximately 280,000 square feet and would have high school and middle school wings connected by central gymnasiums, the cafeteria/kitchen and auditorium. The cost would be approximately $64.5 million plus locally funded initiatives. The district’s share would be $35.7 million plus locally funded initiatives such as site acquisition/major road widening projects; off-site infrastructure improvements; fixed-seat auditoriums; increased gym size to accommodate more bleachers; athletic fields; material quality upgrades and energy initiatives.
If the district goes with the second option, the buildings would be built at two locations. The high school would be around 180,000 square feet, while the middle school would be 130,000 square feet. The district’s share would be $39.3 million plus initiatives.
The third option would be a phased plan during which the new high school, around 180,000 square feet, would be built first. Then the high school would be retrofitted to accommodate the middle school. To make this plan acceptable, the career tech wing (approximately 20,725 square feet) would be demolished and an interior courtyard of 6,720 square feet would be created. The local cost is $38.1 million plus initiatives. The district would need a waiver from the state because the cost of renovating is more than 70 percent of the cost of construction new. The OSFC recommends replacement at 66 percent.
The final option also requires a phased plan. Approximately 27, 809 square feet would be added to the high school and 22,708 square feet added to the middle school to go along with the renovation. Also, swing space would be constructed to accommodate students while their building is being renovated. The local cost is $35.7 million plus initiatives.
Site availability could go a long way in determining which route the district takes, although at the most recent community forum, it was announced that a vast majority of residents surveyed do not favor the renovation/addition option. The high school building will require 45 acres (35 plus one acre per 100 students), while the middle school requires 30 acres (20 plus one per 100 students). If the single-sight option is picked it would need a 75-acre site.
The timeline for the first two options show completion in early 2020. The timeline for the final two options show the entire project being completed in 2022.
Correction: Yesterday’s story listed Warner’s enrollment at 576, when in fact it is 894. Please note this correction. We regret the error.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.