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Levy committee outlines project

WILLOW WOOD – Symmes Valley levy campaign organizers will hold a meeting Monday to outline the district’s plans to renovate the high school.

Friday, October 06, 2000

WILLOW WOOD – Symmes Valley levy campaign organizers will hold a meeting Monday to outline the district’s plans to renovate the high school.

"We have a lot to get done in a short period of time," said Jennifer Leach of the Symmes Valley Development-Expansion Committee.

"We have a great high school that’s about 37 years old and looks wonderful," said Mrs. Leach, a former teacher who’s now a stay-at-home mom.

"But just like a 37-year-old house, there are plumbing problems, lighting changes needed and a need for more room."

The committee will meet Monday at 7 p.m. in the high school gym. Architect Mark Tanner of Tanner and Associates – who designed the current multi-level school – will discuss detailed plans of the high school renovations and the state’s promised $3.8 million. The committee will field questions after the meeting.

State officials notified the district this summer that the renovation money was available, but only if the district matches the funds and provides the state-required maintenance levy.

Symmes Valley has to match with $83,000, which can come from its own budget, officials said.

"They don’t have to take that issue to the voters," said Dick Adcock, committee chairman. "But in all issues like this, they must pass a 10-year operating levy, something the state requires."

The district currently has 6.1 mills levied, with a 1/2 mill of that for maintenance. The millage will mature in 2013. A 1/2 mill maintenance levy passed Nov. 7 would become an extension of the previous maintenance levy, beginning in 2014 and extending to 2023.

"It’s a minimal tax for a large amount of improvement," Adcock said.

For instance, the tax is about $15 a year on a home worth $100,000, and that begins when the current maintenance levy expires years from now, he said.

The committee is working its campaign hard because the state funding came so quickly that many don’t know a levy is on the ballot, Mrs. Leach said.

People may not understand why the state is giving so much money with little local money in return, so the committee wants to provide all the information it can, she said.

The funding would help the high school meet fire codes, make it handicapped accessible, build five new classrooms, construct a new library and turn the old library into an additional three classrooms. Also, there are plans for a new cafeteria and kitchen plus changes to the industrial arts area.

There may be opposition to the levy campaign but the committee feels positive about the issue, Adcock said.

"My children have gone through school already, but I feel we need this," he said.

Adcock said he wants people to understand the issue, and is willing to answer questions at any time, even at home. His phone number is 643-1532.