You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Sister of alleged West Liberty shooter speaks, school to re-open

County delays decision on school funding

Detrick supports $100,000 for Global Impact school but suggests waiting to vote.


Clark County commissioners delayed a decision about contributing $100,000 to the Global Impact STEM Academy due in part to uncertainty about the project.

Commissioner John Detrick in December proposed allocating $100,000 toward the school, but on Tuesday he asked commissioners David Hartley and Rick Lohnes to wait 30 to 45 days before deciding on whether to fund the science, technology, engineering and mathematics school. Detrick said it was the result of county budget concerns and questions raised in recent weeks about the project by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.

“I was the one pushing the STEM school. I’m still not opposed to it, but I would like to maybe sit on it until we find out what direction it’s going in Columbus,” Detrick said.

Global Impact supporters want to establish the state’s first school dedicated to an agricultural bioscience curriculum that focuses on jobs in food, fuel and fiber fields. The school would go inside the former South High School, and backers estimate renovating the building will cost between $6.6 million and $9.6 million.

However, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission estimates it would cost approximately $39.84 million to renovate the entire complex or $23.1 million to renovate the 70,000 square feet sought for the school, according to a Springfield News-Sun investigation.

OFCC officials are also worried the school would pull existing public school students from nearby districts, compete with technology and vocational courses already offered by those districts, and renovate too much instruction space based on declining population and enrollment.

David Estrop, superintendent of Springfield City Schools, disputes those claims and said it isn’t the OFCC’s place to decide what new programs get implemented in the state.

While the OFCC’s questions have caused commissioners to delay funding the project, Estrop said the questions have only strengthened support from other local organizations.

Global Impact supporters need to raise $4.5 million for facility renovation if OFCC agrees to provide 50 percent of the funding, Estrop said.

Officials already have $1.25 million in local funds or pledges from the Dayton Development Coalition, the Turner Foundation, the Springfield Foundation, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield and Clark County Community Improvement Corporation, Estrop said.

The Dayton Development Coalition and Wright State University also are partners on the project. Last week, Springfield city commissioners awarded $50,000 toward the project.

County commissioners were asked in June to pledge about $100,000, but Detrick is the only commissioner so far who supports that.

Mike McDorman, president and CEO of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, said the county’s support is critical to the project.

“Our role in the STEM school is to help raise local funding, and in order to for that to happen, we’re going to need the county’s support,” McDorman said. “This is an opportunity not only for students in our community and our county, but for several (surrounding) counties.”

County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said he did not include an allocation for the school in drafts of 2013 budget and has cautioned commissioners about the idea, saying they must consider the possibility of state cuts to local government funds, and reductions in sales tax and casino revenue.

Hartley and Lohnes have yet to support pledging $100,000 or any amount toward the school, and both now question whether the project will be approved.

“I don’t think it’s as solid as it was for coming here. It still looks like they’re resolving some issues,” Lohnes said. “It’s a great concept. It’s a wonderful idea. But I have not committed to funding (the project.) I just can’t … When we find out that it’s going to happen, we will make a decision.”

Hartley said he’s simply not ready to make a decision on funding the project.

“In my mind there’s a lot of uncertainty,” Hartley said.

Estrop said Global Impact officials remain confident the school will get approved by the state and said discussions with OFCC are ongoing.

OFCC officials are expected to be in Springfield today to tour schools and discuss additional details about the project, Estrop said.

“(The school) is going to create more opportunities not only for students but the entire area. If we improve the skills and education of our workforce, it will stimulate economic development in our area,” Estrop said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Woman's dog saves her from would-be attacker in broad daylight
Woman's dog saves her from would-be attacker in broad daylight

One woman has her 10-month-old puppy to thank after a man tried to attack her while she was on a trail in a Houston suburb. Catalina Humphrey told KTRK a man grabbed her from behind when she was walking her Rottweiler, Hercules, on Saturday afternoon. "I didn't have a purse on me. I just had my workout gear on," Humphrey told KHOU. "...
'A Dog's Purpose' video fallout: movie producer, animal supplier speak out
'A Dog's Purpose' video fallout: movie producer, animal supplier speak out

"A Dog's Purpose" is set to premiere Jan. 27, but it is still battling publicity surrounding a controversial video that was obtained and posted by TMZ last week. The video shows a 2-year-old German shepherd named Hercules struggling with a person who appears to be a trainer as rough waves churned in a pool. Producers of the film initially...
Sister of alleged West Liberty shooter speaks, school to re-open
Sister of alleged West Liberty shooter speaks, school to re-open

The older sister of the alleged West Liberty-Salem High School shooter said she was shocked when she learned that her brother had been accused of hurting other students. Ely Serna, 17, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with a Friday morning school shooting at West Liberty-Salem High School. A judge ruled Monday during...
Alec Baldwin to host SNL for record 17th time, smashing previous record
Alec Baldwin to host SNL for record 17th time, smashing previous record

Actor Alec Baldwin is scheduled to host “Saturday Night Live” next month for the 17th time, in an appearance that will break comedian Steve Martin’s record for most times hosting the late-night comedy show. Baldwin's impression of President Donald Trump has garnered rave reviews and plenty of late-night laughs, as he played Trump...
Dayton VA to celebrate 150 years of service to veterans
Dayton VA to celebrate 150 years of service to veterans

Two years after the end of the Civil War, former soldiers were housed on hundreds of acres filled with ornate gardens in Dayton at what would become the largest home for veterans in the nation. That place began as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, the genesis of the Dayton VA Medical Center, which this year marks its 150th anniversary...
More Stories