XENIA — Greene County voters can expect to see an estimated 1.03 mill 20-year bond on the Nov. 6 ballot to build a new Greene County Career Center facility and expand programming.
If passed, residents would pay $36.05 per year for a $100,000 home to help with construction and technology purchase costs.
Architects, design-build firms and engineering teams are working on plans for the new career center, which is likely to be located inside Xenia city limits near Innovation Way, a road that runs parallel to US Route 35 and connects State Route 380 and Union Road, according to GCCC Superintendent Dave Deskins.
“We think it is going to provide great visibility for the career center. It’s centrally-located for the communities and school districts that we serve and we believe it is going to be an easier-to-access location,” Deskins said, adding that he hopes to be able to announce the specific location soon.
The career center celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, already has nearly 700 students enrolled for next year, and has begun Take Flight Initiative curriculum in county schools. The initiative is a result of recent market analysis that shows a high demand for workers in manufacturing, engineering and information technology areas, specifically tied to aerospace and aviation, in the Dayton region.
But in 2016, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) determined the 50-year-old building required $24.2 million in structural repairs. Deskins decided it wasn’t feasible to close the school for any period of time for the extensive repairs.
Since then, the board and administration have exhausted all options to finance the construction of a building before reaching out to voters for support, the superintendent explained. Initially, the OFCC said they would not fund new construction for career centers. So the board sought to change language in Ohio legislation to allow the OFCC to contribute funds to new career center construction projects across the state. The item cleared the Ohio House and the Senate, but Governor John Kasich vetoed the effort in June 2017.
Next, the board reached out for funding from private businesses and industries, which supported the Take Flight Initiative message but ultimately said they couldn’t offer construction funding.
The decision to place a bond on the November ballot comes after residents expressed support for the career center’s efforts in a community survey.
The survey showed more than 90 percent of community members supported the Take Flight Initiative and the expansion of programming related to the aerospace industry.
“People in Greene County understand the importance of aerospace careers and aerospace investment, likely because of our connectivity to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. This community’s voice was loud and clear,” Deskins said.
Fifty-nine percent said they would support funding for the construction of a new facility.
While the bond would fund a significant portion of the new building, GCCC would also contribute a portion of the funding which has been saved over the years due to careful planning, a settlement after a failed HVAC installation, and a small continuing permanent improvement levy. Under Ohio law, schools and government agencies would be given priority to re-purpose the current building at 2960 West Enon Road.
The expansion would not eliminate current programs, nor would it reduce academic offerings.
“We need our community to do these things to best support our kids, to give them the best pathways and opportunities … This is right. It’s the right thing to do for kids in Greene County,” Deskins said. “It’s about education. It’s about providing career-technical opportunities for kids. It’s about pulling together educational institutions to partner and do things as a team. It’s about bringing businesses and industries to the table and having workforce division discussions. It’s about aligning high schools and colleges in a way that kids migrate across, taking as much college eligibility with them into their next steps as they choose … Everything about it makes so much sense.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.