Meigs Board takes step forward on CIC-Rio Grande project
by Charlene Hoeflich
POMEROY - If the Meigs County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) is to construct a building on land adjacent to Meigs schools at Rock Springs and lease it to Rio Grande Community College, a sewage problem will have to be resolved first.
With that in mind, an engineering consultant has been retained by the Meigs Local Board of Education to review the current sewage system at Meigs High School and determine upgrades and changes required to handle the additional sewage of another building.
Tentative plans of the CIC call for tying the center into the sewer system now serving both Meigs High and Meigs Middle schools.
“The additional capacity is not a problem,” said Meigs Local Superintendent William Buckley, “if certain upgrades and changes are put in place.”
The superintendent said this week that “the board is willing to look at donating the property for the college's Meigs Center but before anything is done, the sewer issue needs to be resolved.”
While the sewer is “not a big hangup nor a major issue,” according to Buckley, he said it will require some upgrades and line extensions. He emphasized that there will be “no cost to the district” and also noted that in fact the district will benefit “since the CIC will pay for an ugrade to the overall system - something that needs to be done anyway.”
Besides the sewer upgrade, there are other utility matters, such as availability of water, electric and gas at the site to be addressed by the project architect of the CIC.
“The sewer upgrade and the funding for that needs to be taken care of first,” Buckley stressed, “and then it will be just working out the details with the CIC.”
The superintendent explained that having Rio Grande so close to the high school brings “a lot of potential, has a lot to offer, and could benefit everybody.”
He said the land under consideration is located above the Middle School and the flat section which is now used as a sports practice field.
“That field will be retained for future use by the district - like for a full football area someday if needed. The CIC proposal does not affect that at all.”
According to the architect, there is plenty of room on the acreage above the Middle School for “what the CIC wants to do.”
Among things to be included in a land agreement between the school district and the CIC will be “first right of refusal on the building if the project would ever fail because we would want it always to remain an educational facility,” Buckley said.
Paul Reed and Michael Swisher, representing the Meigs CIC, met with the school board last month to discuss the ongoing plans between the CIC and the Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees, on which both Reed and Swisher serve representing Meigs County.
The CIC hopes to build a $1.2 million classroom and office building for a new Rio Grande Meigs Center on the Meigs Local property.
The proposed center would not only serve college-level students, but would allow more students in local high schools to take advantage of the Ohio Post-Secondary Option taking college courses at state expense. It would also provide an opportunity for teacher training now required for continued licensing, Buckley said.
The CIC, a non-profit economic development organization which invests in real estate and buildings to encourage industry and economic development, has received a $400,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for the estimated $1.6 million project. Farmers Bank and Savings Co. and Home National Bank have agreed to finance the balance of the construction cost.
According to Reed and Swisher, the 10,000 square-foot building is actually the first phase of a proposed two-phase building project, which includes a second building to be built in the future next to the first.
Reed told the board that the ARC funds awarded to the project will be available in March, and that the project could go to bid in early spring in order to be in use “sometime in the 2006-07 school year.” It has been reported that Rio Grande will likely lease the property for 15 years and assume ownership once the debt on its construction is paid.
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