The Olentangy Local School District’s administrative offices may relocate to make room for preschool students.
The Olentangy Board of Education will have a special meeting Tuesday night to consider leasing the former home of Medical Modern Inc. at 7840 Graphics Way for the district’s central office, now located at Shanahan Middle School.
The relocation would make room for 12 preschool classrooms and two larger activity spaces. The district’s OASIS program could relocate back to middle school on Shanahan Road.
The nearly 40-000-square-foot building now has no tenants. The district has until March 30 to decide whether to lease the building for $479,486 with renovation costs of both spaces at about $887,775.
The choice comes as Olentangy is in the final stretch of a redistricting process in preparation for the opening of the district’s fourth high school in fall 2018. Superintendent Mark Raiff is expected to announce the final version for the district’s attendance boundaries at the March 16 meeting.
“We promised voters we wouldn’t ask for additional funding from our residents until at least 2019 (we’re trying to stretch that to 2020) and we would like the current redistricting plan that will be decided by Mr. Raiff on or before March 16 to last 5 years,” board member Julie Feasel said on her Facebook page. “Plus, we do not have operating money for a new elementary school in our 5-year projections.”
The classroom space at Shanahan would be ready for the 2018-2019 school year.
The district has 27 preschool classrooms spread across 10 elementary schools, or equivalent to one school. Also, the state is changing the maximum number of students allowed for each of preschool room to 12 students instead of 16.
School officials have said preschool growth has been sporadic for the past decade and nearly doubled in eight years.
Voters approved a bond issue that included money for Heritage Elementary School and for elementary school No. 16. Olentangy halted plans for the latter after the state withdrew a mandate for all-day kindergarten.
The district has $13.5 million in bonds to build another elementary school that would now cost $16.8 million to build.
Other options considered were a preschool-only building and modular classrooms, but officials said both didn’t provide enough flexibility for potential future uses.
“Modular classrooms are just an inefficient band-aid to our continued growth. Plus, in my personal experience, modular classrooms aren’t as secure as classrooms in a building,” Feasel said. “A stand alone preschool would be a modified elementary building with a half-sized gym and cafeteria. A building like that would be very limited as to what it could be used for in the future — basically just preschool.”
The district could do nothing but enrollment projections would have to be perfect. It would have to maximize every classroom for first through fifth grades, a difficult feat to accomplish uniformly at all 15 elementary schools, according to officials. It would also make it impossible to add additional students during the year.
The meeting will take place at Olentangy Administrative Office, 814 Shanahan Road, 6 p.m. in the BOE conference room.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.