The Ohio School Facilities Commission has approved more than $22 million in funding to the Cuyahoga Falls City School District to go toward the $82.25 million in improvements the district plans in phase one of a several-phase plan to upgrade its schools, Treasurer David M. Hoskin announced July 21.

"OFCC awarding us the money is really the last hurdle that allows us to go on the ballot with our bond issue," Superintendent Dr. Todd M. Nichols stated after the meeting. "It guarantees us that the state is willing to enter into a partnership with us for new facilities in this district where they (the state) are paying 27 percent and we're paying 73 percent."

With the $22 million in state funding approved by the OSFC, the school district will need to cover the $60 million remainder for the first phase of the facility upgrade plan.

The superintendent said the state money will allow the district "to address our significant facility needs." Reporting safety/security, HVAC, electrical and infrastructure issues, among others, a committee charged with making a formal recommendation to the Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education about how the school district should proceed, facilities-wise, made a singular recommendation this spring: a new school configuration and the construction of new buildings with an estimated price tag of $162 million. What's proposed are three buildings for pre-kindergarten through grade three, two buildings for grades four through six and one building for grades seven through 12-plus, according to the superintendent.

Phase one, the only part of the plan that has been fully approved to date, is estimated to cost about $82.25 million and include constructing the 9-12 and 7-8 buildings, as well as demolishing the former Sill Middle School, the former Newberry Elementary School, the current Bolich Middle School and portions of Falls High School, excluding the auditorium, gymnasium and Clifford Stadium.

The board of education unanimously approved the second step toward placing a bond issue request on the November ballot on July 7.

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