Renovate Ohio's Historic Schools

Common Statements Against Renovation

Below are just a few common, but inaccurate statements used by local bond/levy committees to promote reasons why school renovation is not possible:

“You can’t repair the buildings, because you can no longer get parts.”

Antiquated building systems, which are currently in use, would be replaced with systems that are at least equivalent in operation and efficiency to those used in new construction.

“The school is 100 years old and is well over it’s life expectancy.”

Most existing school buildings consist of multiple additions, making some sections are older than others.  While a section built in 1913 is 100 years old, an addition built in 1953 is only 60 years old. Promoters of a new facility often only use the oldest age when referring to the entire building.

“If we don’t pass the bond/levy within one year, our district will lose it’s portion of state funds.”

A school district enters into a 1 year agreement with the OSFC to acquire the local portion of funding for an OSFC building project.  After that 1 year, the district becomes “lapsed”, but they can still continue to attempt to raise their local portion.  When the local funds have been secured, the district will be given first priority for funding by the OSFC.

“The state will not co-fund or allow for the renovation of our existing buildings.”

The OSFC has a “two-thirds guideline” when referring to renovation.  Below is an OSFC statement on this guideline:

When the cost of renovating a school building exceeds two-thirds of the cost of replacing the building, the policy of the Commission will be to replace the building. However, the Commission retains the ability to approve renovations that cost in excess of two-thirds of the cost of replacing the building if it is demonstrated to the Commission that the building has special historical value, or for other good cause shown. The Commission will co-fund renovations in excess of two-thirds of the cost of replacement, up to the cost of new construction. Expenditures exceeding the cost of a new building will be the responsibility of the school district.

“Our existing buildings can not support the new technology that is required to provide a 21st-century education our children.”

Older schools commonly have high ceilings and tunnel systems, routing communication cabling throughout the building is not difficult and costs no more than in new construction.  Many renovated schools offer state-of-the-art computer labs connected through up-to-date networking infrastructure.

“Even if we renovate, we’ll still have and old building”

This is not entirely true.  A comprehensive school renovation requires all building systems to be upgraded/replaced to provide more efficient operations.  The shell or building envelope is retained, while keeping school’s “historic” characteristics.  The materials used construct the envelope are usually a better grade/quality than those used for new construction.

“A new building will be more enery efficient and have lower maintenance costs than renovating our current schools.”

Older schools will still need maintenance and so will new schools, but older schools have probably only received band-aids in recent years (deferred maintenance).  A comprehensive renovation would renew the systems to last another 50 – 70 years with no more maintenance than a new school would require.

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