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Message from the Superintendent
Mr. Von Gunten

Facility Update:

South Amherst Middle School has served our community well, but the educational and financial challenges of maintaining a 108-year-old building continue to grow. Antiquated boilers, roof repairs, inefficient windows and doors, leaky plumbing, dim lighting, failing electrical systems that cannot handle modern technology, lack of ADA compliance, and safety and security mechanisms are just some of the challenges that impact our students, teachers, and staff every day. At 108 years old, South Amherst Middle School is no longer effectively providing safe, secure and productive spaces for teaching and learning.  

Last fall we initiated a process to engage our community in discussions regarding our facilities.  A building advisory committee, consisting of over 40 community members, met throughout the fall and early winter and was tasked with reviewing district finances, building conditions, and the State’s assessments of our current facilities. We interviewed residents, fielded an online survey, hosted listening sessions, and conducted a telephone survey to gain a better understanding of what is in the best interest of our students, community, and the educational excellence of our district.

On Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in a 5-0 vote, the Firelands Board of Education approved placing a 4.28 mill bond issue on the November ballot to construct a new 9-12 high school. The new building will be built on district owned property and will be connected to the current high school located on Vermilion Road in Henrietta Township. 

Once constructed, the current high school will be repurposed as the district’s middle school and South Amherst Middle School will be closed.  In addition to serving the needs of our high school students, the new building will serve as the main entrance and administrative area for all students in grades 6-12 providing increased safety and security of the existing high school.  A central kitchen and cafeteria will also be constructed to maximize resources and serve all middle and high school students.

On July 12 the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission approved the district’s master plan and the District locked in the State’s contribution of $5,297,765 once the district’s local share of $24,480,211 is approved by voters.  The issue will cost voters $12.48 per month per $100,000 of home value.  With passage in November, the new high school will be open for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.

We can no longer sit back and ignore the urgent need to address our middle school. If you would like additional information, please contact me at 440.965.5821 or by email at mvongunten@firelandsschools.org.

Mike Von Gunten

Superintendent

Firelands Local Schools
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