Thursday, April 29, 1999

Talawanda options school site

Bond issue is next step

Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — A high school for the Talawanda City Schools may be built on 157 acres on Millville-Oxford Road across from the College View Motel.

        The Oxford Township farm, owned by Leo and Mary Erik, was one of 11 sites studied by administrators and the Talawanda Board of Education. This week the board gave the go-ahead to spend $5,000 to buy a 19-month option on the property, said James Rowan, district treasurer.

        “That allows us three tries — November 1999, May 2000 and November 2000 — to pass a bond issue,” he said.

        Under the agreement the board would buy the farm for $7,500 per acre, or about $1.17 million, Mr. Rowan said. If the land isn't bought within 180 days, the board will forfeit $500. After 19 months, the board would lose the entire $5,000.

        “We picked the site because it was the geographic and demographic central point for our district,” Mr. Rowan said. “The price was very reasonable and fair. We're getting almost double the acreage for a much cheaper cost than we thought we could.”

        William Vollmer, president of the Talawanda school board, was the only board member to vote against the proposal. He said the site is too close to Oxford.

        “From the very first discus sion, I said location is the No. 1 priority with me,” Mr. Vollmer said. “My choice would have been farther south and more out of town. I'm pleased with the amount of land and feel we received a fair price break. I'd be happier if that farm were a few miles south.”

        Board members have not decided a ballot issue but are studying a package that includes money to build a high school and renovate/expand other district buildings along with increasing teacher pay and providing operating money. The first draft was presented to board members earlier this month. It calls for a $34 million bond issue and a 0.75 percent income tax.

        The board likely will get a final proposal for a bond issue in July.


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