Exterior pipes used to transport steam heat around Black River High School are in need of replacing, Superintendent Chris Clark said during a drive around the campus Tuesday morning.
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SULLIVAN TWP. — Superintendent Chris Clark said Black River Local Schools officials are optimistic about a 1.4-mill permanent improvement levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.
“We have had a lot of positive support for it. It is going to come down to the feeling of the voters,” Clark said Tuesday morning.
Clark previously said the permanent replacement levy will replace an $8.4 million bond issue approved to build the Black River Education Center that is currently generating $313,000 per year and is set to expire in 2019.
According to district data, homeowners are currently paying $50.50 a year per $100,000 home valuation for the bond issue.
They would pay $49 a year if the permanent improvement levy passes in November.
Clark said the district, which is made up of about 1,200 students in Medina, Ashland and Lorain counties, began making residents aware of the upcoming levy about two years ago.
“We tried to be as proactive as we could rather than reactive and I think that has probably been one of our stronger selling-points,” he said.
According to the district’s five-year capital improvement plan that was approved last September, funding from the levy would be used to complete repairs and renovations to both the education center and Black River High School.
Prospective future projects outlined in the plan include security camera and fire alarm upgrades at the high school, with an estimated combined cost of $75,000.
Clark said heating and air conditioning issues at both district buildings are some of the biggest issues plaguing the district.
“The elementary heating system was designed in such a way that technology is no longer valid today,” Clark said of the 20-year-old system.
Clark said a replacement plan was never instituted for the buildings interior features such heating, cooling and air conditioning.
“(I’m) not saying we need to get rid of the building or anything, but a lot of the internal structures in there aren’t repairable,” he said during a drive around campus.
Clark said he appreciates the support voters have shown Black River during past bond and levy issues and he has tried to secure a good return for their financial investment in the community.
“We have also taken their investment and tried to stretch money in such a way through grants to try and double everything,” he said.
Clark said the district serves as a hub to the surrounding community and stays open seven days a week to accommodate scout troops and other local organizations.
“We have tried to tell everybody we believe that Black River (Local Schools) is the community, there is no town of Black River,” he said.