South Point school project moving along

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2005

How much of a difference does 100 children make? Nearly $2 million.

South Point School Superintendent Ken Cook said the Ohio School Facilities Commission has revised its enrollment projections for the district, thus adding $1.8 million the project.

"Things look better than they did a couple of months ago," Cook said. "They showed us with a population going into decline and we were sure it had pretty much stabilized over the last five years. We got that pinned down."

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Current figures and future enrollment projects are key components in OSCF's determination about how large a school is required to meet the needs of the district.

Cook said state officials had been underestimating enrollment projections by approximately 100 children because they were using enrollment figures from 1994 -1998, a time when the local economy was souring and people were leaving the area to find jobs elsewhere.

Cook said local officials pointed out that since then, the South Point enrollment has stabilized and for the years since then, has hovered just above or below 1,860 students.

Such factors as new housing developments and progress at The Point industrial park were also used to assess the potential for enrollment growth or stabilization.

Cook said school officials are meeting Thursday with architects from McDonald, Cassell and Bassett, the Columbus-based firm charged with designing the four new buildings. The architects will take information collected so far to design schematics for the new facilities.

"We're committed to getting things right in the planning stages so that later we don't have cost overruns. This way, we don't have to make so many changes later on. I think it is critical to get things done right in the planning stages," Cook said.

Voters in the South Point School District approved a 4.91-mil bond issue and half-mil tax levy to build four new schools - a new high school and middle school and two new elementaries.