A land swap between the city of Streetsboro and the school system could provide one of the key elements necessary for a new high school: a logical site.
The proposal, which Mayor Glenn Broska outlined during his State of the City speech Feb. 13, involves the city swapping the present location of City Park on Route 303 for 121 acres of school-owned land on Route 14 across from Deer Crossing.
The city would gain a large tract of land that it could put to use, and the schools would gain a site for the new high school near the existing school campus, which appears to be the location preferred by residents. Ninety percent who shared their views on the 2012 School Strategic Plan indicated that they wanted new school facilities to remain at that location.
Streetsboro needs a new high school. The present school dates to 1962 and was constructed before Streetsboro attained city status. It would be more cost-effective to build a new high school, one designed for 21st century education, than to attempt to modernize the existing one.
Construction of a high school is part of a $66.5 million building program under discussion by the schools. The program also would include renovating the existing high school for use as a middle school and transforming Campus Elementary School into a primary school. With state school construction funds picking up 35 percent of the tab, a bond issue of less than 4 mills would be required to finance the remaining cost.
Reaching an agreement on a suitable location for the new school could resolve an issue that many believe doomed the high school bond issue rejected by voters in 2004. The proposed site for that project was located on Route 43, south of the city's center, and many objected to building the school there, citing traffic concerns and other issues.
Having the new high school on the Route 303 site would enhance the existing school campus, centralize school facilities and probably result in a cost savings for the school district.
Superintendent Dr. Tim Calfee said he hopes the school district can reach an agreement with the city on the land swap soon. Broska said he hopes the discussions can conclude in about 90 days.
It's encouraging to see the city and the schools working together on plans for a new high school. Both sides stand to gain from the proposed land deal, but the city's young people ultimately could be the biggest winners of all.