“When it comes to student learning, school facilities matter,” OFCC Executive Director Cheryl J. Lyman.
“When it comes to student learning, school facilities matter,” OFCC Executive Director Cheryl J. Lyman.
July 8, 2021 -- The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) approved the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center for $10,994,145 in state funding for the renovation and expansion of the educational facility. (read full press release by the OFCC)
We are excited to announce that the future of the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center is looking bright, as the district is being offered state funding to renovate the facility, creating an improved learning environment and meeting current building standards.
The overall aspirations for this Breaking Barriers, Building Futures project would provide students, both high schoolers and adult learners, access to premier educational programs with hands-on training, by creating an innovative, modernized school campus.
The Career Center facility plays an integral role in our community and student education. The internal core of the school has been ever-changing to accommodate expanding academic courses, career technical programs, adult education and a growing school population. The building has not expanded since its inception, however enrollment, services and program offerings have exceeded capacity.
Room To Learn, Room to Grow
In the past five years, the programs have evolved to reflect industry and regional needs, resulting in reaching even more students. In constant evaluation and analysis of the industry trends and region’s employment needs, the high school and adult education program offerings need to be able to accommodate those influencing factors. With the current building size restraints, the option to add programming or to reprogram current offerings, is no longer a viable option.
Sophomore application trends are indicating that facility renovation and expansion are a necessity to best serve the overall student population wanting to attend the Career Center from our associate schools; Ashland,
Hillsdale, Loudonville, Mapleton and West Holmes (Chart 1). Although the pathway programs are offered as a choice for juniors and seniors, district sophomores are also given an opportunity to change the trajectory of their high school experience through the Career Based Intervention (CBI) program. This program allows 36 sophomores to explore four program labs, while focusing on the valuable high school credits needed for graduation. Based on freshman applications for CBI, a larger sophomore population needs to have access to the services available through this program (Chart 2). It is a district goal to expand the CBI Program to a Sophomore Academy which would allow additional students to be directly engaged in quality academics and experience programs offered for their junior year. The current CBI program students boasts a 90% retention rate to their junior year at the Career Center.
The OFCC has chosen the Career Center to be the only JVSD in the state to receive grant funding for the 2021 year. This funding will cover 51% of the building renovations to bring the facility up to code and rework existing educational spaces (Chart 3). Should the funding not be approved by the taxpayers, the Career Center would be replaced by another JVSD, resulting in the this much needed project being wait-listed for several years. (full release PDF)
WHAT IS BEING PROPOSED?
The Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center School Board unanimously approved and are in support of the November 2021 levy ballot issue for the future of the Career Center. The levy is needed for upgrades to the current building, additions to provide adequate academic and lab spaces, and for a stand alone Adult Education Training facility. Passage of this 1.1 mill levy will cost the $100,000 homeowner a total of $38.50 annually or $3.21 per month. These improvements will allow the district to break through the current barriers students and staff are facing to best educate, train and serve our students for their future.
WHY IS THIS NEEDED?
The Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center, JVSD building was built in 1973 to house career training classes, with students remaining at their local schools for academic courses. Since the school’s opening, the overall size of the building has not changed, even when academic classes were brought into the building in 1993. The building currently houses over 400 high school students, 72 teachers/staff members, 13 career-technical education programs, academic courses required by the state for graduation, as well as, nine adult education training programs. Several of the high school programs have reached capacity for the 2021-2022 school year, due to the lack of adequate functional space for additional students. Additionally, while the Career Center offers Adult Education programs, most all are offered in the evening due to space limitations during the daytime. By acquiring the current Ashland County Service Center, the Adult Education community will be better served by providing additional space for daytime classes, as well as expanding and offering new adult education programs.
The Career Center was chosen by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) as the only JVSD in the state to receive funding for the 2021 year. This $10.9 million grant funding will co-fund building renovations to bring the facility up to code and rework existing educational spaces. However, to receive the grant funding provided by the OFCC, the taxpayers support is necessary to complete the local share of this project. The district has one year to obtain the local taxpayer support, should the levy not be approved by the taxpayers within this timeframe, the OFCC grant funding for the renovations would be offered to another JVSD, resulting in the this much needed project being wait-listed for several years.
There are four key areas of the Career Center services that would be addressed should the levy be approved.
• REPLACE & REPAIR: The levy funds would address the required replacement and repair of building systems revealed by OFCC assessment.
• RENOVATE: The renovations to the main building would improve the student learning environment with more functional classroom space (increasing from 500sq./ft. to the state recommended size of 900sq./ft.) and provide state-of-the-art career technical lab space. It focuses on improving building accessibility, safety, security and flow by creating a dedicated secure entrance.
• ADDITIONAL SPACE: The levy encompasses building additions designed to create secure access to our public service programs (preschool, restaurant and cosmetology). This includes creating a dedicated space for the adult education training programs in an effort to accommodate preferred daytime classes and offers expanded program options.
The objective of the design is to create a facility that safely and effectively meet the educational requirements for the 21st Century.
•NEW PROGRAMS: At the high school level, four career tech programs would be added including LPN/STNA, Electrical, HVAC and Dental Assisting. Expansion of the current CBI Program to a Sophomore Academy would allow additional students to be directly engaged in quality academics and experience programs offered for their junior year. Adult Education sees a value in adding several programs, including Practical Nursing, Practical Nursing to Registered Nursing, Patient Care Technician, Direct Support Professional, Barber, Nail Technician, Hospitality, Paralegal, Power Lineman, Truck Driving, Drone Pilot, Police Academy, Corrections Officer, Private Security and Cyber Security.
(full Fast Facts PDF)
WHY DOES ACWHCC NEED A LEVY?
The current building has not had any major upgrades since it was built in 1973. There are over $17 million in required upgrades to bring the building up to code and to meet education facility standards. The high school has seen an increase in the number of students who are seeking career-technical education, however the current classrooms and lab sizes are limiting the number of students that the district is able to serve. The building renovations/expansion, in addition to moving adult education into their own facility, will allow for the space needed to serve more students and offer additional in-demand programs. Adult education will also benefit by being able to provide daytime programming to the adult student population by not being housed within the same building as the high school students.
WHY IS ACWHCC PUTTING THIS LEVY UP NOW?
ACWHCC was chosen to be the one Career Tech school (or JVSD) by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) in 2021 to receive 51% funding of the main building renovations. The levy has one year to pass before the OFCC will withdraw the funding, resulting in years without being reconsidered for grant funding.
WHY IS THE DISTRICT USING A PERMANENT IMPROVEMENT LEVY TO PAY FOR THE RENOVATION AND EXPANSION OF THE DISTRICT?
Under Ohio law, a permanent improvement levy can only be utilized for the purchase and improvement of school district facilities. These funds cannot be used for any form of operating expenses. Due to the span of the ACWHCC district over seven counties (Ashland, Holmes, Wayne, Richland, Knox, Lorain, Coshocton) the cost is shared by taxpayers in all of these counties, resulting in a lower millage request.
WHAT IS A MILL?
A mill is the amount of tax payable per dollar of the assessed value of a property and is defined as one-tenth of a percent or one-tenth of a cent (0.1 cents). Mills are often communicated as cost per $100,000 of home property value. This levy is for 1.1 mill permanent improvement levy equating to $38.50 annually per $100,000 of home market value.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE LEVY PASSES?
The renovations/expansion of the main building will allow for:
• Building Security - One Main “Grand Entrance” where all visitors must come into the main office to register, sign in, sign out, reason for visit, and to ensure visitors get to their location. Provide for the overall safety of our students and staff.
• Public Access to Customer Service Programs - Improve accessibility to our programs that offer services to the public (Early Childhood Education - Preschool; Culinary Careers - The White Apron Restaurant; Cosmetology; and Animal Veterinary Science)
• Larger Academic Classrooms - The academic classrooms are approximately half of the recommended size for today’s standards, the renovation would allow for classrooms to accommodate more students in the classroom; provide space for group projects; offer teacher mobility in room to reach every student; space for small group instruction and/or co-teaching; and create opportunities for student-led instruction.
• Upgraded Lab Classrooms - Many of the labs are in need of ventilation and an upgrade of utilities. In addition to the mechanical upgrades, the Culinary Careers program needs a dedicated classroom and additional kitchen space. The Welding Lab needs area in for student projects; Construction Technology needs a connected working lab with space for smaller projects; Auto Body is in need of working space based on the program enrollment numbers.
• New Programming Opportunities - Additional space would allow for our Health Technology program to offer LPN/STNA pathways. New programs for high school students would include Electrical, HVAC and Dental Assisting. Based on the 2020-2021 applications for our sophomore program, which doubled our capacity, a Sophomore Academy would be created.
The acquisition of the Ashland County Service Center building for Adult Education would provide the adult students with daytime programming and exploring programs to add, including Practical Nursing, Registered Nursing, Patient Care Technician, Direct Support Professional, Barber, Nail Technician, Hospitality, Paralegal, Power Lineman, Truck Driving, Drone Pilot, Police Academy, Corrections Officer, Private Security and Cyber Security.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE LEVY FAILS?
Should the levy fail in November, the SHP design team and ACWHCC committee will reevaluate changes that can be made to the proposed design, considerations include removing the additions and forgo building improvements to reduce the overall costs. Then ACWHCC would again ask for levy assistance. Should the levy not pass within a year from June 2021, the OFCC will withdraw the funding, resulting in years without being reconsidered.
HOW DID THE DISTRICT DECIDE HOW TO RENOVATE THE EXISTING BUILDING VERSUS NEW CONSTRUCTION?
The OFCC only provides a grant for renovations to Career Technical schools. New construction is not funded for the ACWHCC. In order to take advantage of the $10,994,145 state funding, the district is planning to move forward with renovation and expansion of the existing building in order to provide a state of the art facility for the career technical education of our students.
HOW WERE THESE PLANS DEVELOPED?
A Visionary Committee was formed in 2019 that represented ideas from parents, students, business owners, ACWHCC instructors and teachers/staff, and board members that worked through a process to determine the overwhelming needs of the school and building.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO DESIGN AND RENOVATE THE SCHOOL WHEN THE LEVY IS APPROVED?
• First 4-5 months from passing levy:
- RFQ process begins to hire design firm & Construction Management in conjunction with OFCC
- Project agreement signed with OFCC, once locals funds are deposited
- Design Professional & Construction Manager are hired
• Design Phase Begins: Next 12 months
• Design complete, then bidding of project: 2-3 months
• Award contract
• Renovation/Construction begins: 18-24 months
WHAT WILL STUDENTS DO WHILE THE EXISTING SCHOOL BUILDING IS BEING RENOVATED?
In a renovation project, the district has the obligation to provide alternative educational space while construction is underway. The alternative space generally is provided by renting or purchasing modular educational space. However, the district has opted to utilize the current Ashland County Service Center building located next door to the Career Center as alternative space during the renovation process. The OFCC does provide funding as part of the co-funded project to support the swing space obligation. Not only does the acquisition of the Ashland County Service Center building provides a means to meet this obligation during the renovation project, it will continue to provide long-term benefits to the adult education needs.
I WANT TO HELP WITH THE LEVY. HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
Please contact the visionary committee by emailing OurFuture@acwhcc.org or by completing our Get Involved form.
(full Frequently Asked Questions PDF)