Since the passing of the bond issue on May 5, 2015, we have received several questions about the progress of the high school project. Many people want to know when they will begin to see some action at the new site. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t move quite that rapidly. As a district, it is our goal to keep the community informed as we go throughout this process. Like with our elementary and middle school projects, there will be a link on our district website (http://www.miamitrace.k12.oh.us/) providing you with updates on the project. You can also visit our district Facebook page for information. This is a very exciting time for our district and we are grateful to the community for supporting us with this important endeavor.
On June 11, 2015, we had our kick-off meeting with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). During this meeting, we discussed the varied roles and responsibilities of the district and OFCC, reviewed the process and timeline for funding, evaluated the different options for delivery of construction, discussed the timeline and procedure for architect and construction manager selection, and met our project administrator assigned by the OFCC. At the conclusion of this meeting, it was apparent that the process had changed since the completion of our middle school project.
We met with our project administrator again on June 19, 2015 to finalize our project delivery method and timeline for architect and construction manager selection. The process for selecting an architect and construction manager is a joint decision between the district and OFCC. We are currently requesting qualifications from interested firms in both areas. Once each deadline has passed, we will collaboratively select a short list of firms to interview. Each interviewed firm will receive a rating from the district and OFCC. The highest rated firm will be selected to work on our project.
On July 13, 2015, district representatives participated in a rating conference with Moody’s Investors Service to determine the district’s bond anticipation note rating, as well as an underlying general obligation (GO) bond rating. The district received a MIG 1 rating for the notes and affirmation of its Aa3 bond rating. The district will utilize bond anticipation notes for the last five months of 2015 to provide funds to get the project started and replace the notes with bonds in 2016. The underlying bond rating will be evaluated again prior to the bond sale.
Once an architect has been selected, the following 12-16 months will be used for educational visioning and building design. Educational Visioning is a process which results in a comprehensive long-term planning tool for a school or a district. It establishes clear statements about the most appropriate and effective educational practices, school organizational structure, and concepts for the school facilities needed to support them. Educational Visioning is the roadmap for transforming the future educational needs of a school or district. District staff members will be actively involved in the educational visioning and building design processes.
We appreciate your questions about the new high school and understand the excitement it has generated throughout our community. We would love for this entire process to move at a faster pace, but the most important thing is that we take the time to plan and design to ensure that we get it right. Once the “Final Piece to the Puzzle” is complete, there will not be a district in the area that has a district campus to rival ours. The education of the students in the Miami Trace Local School District is our number one priority. A new high school demonstrates the commitment to education by our community and will enhance the education of our students for years to come. Thank you.
David L. Lewis is the Miami Trace Local Schools Superintendent and is proud to be a Panther.