With the approval of the OSFC, the state will provide $15.6 million of the total cost, and the district will only be responsible for 2 percent ($319,653) as part of the OSFC's exceptional needs program. The project now goes to the state controlling board for approval during its August meeting.
"The commission approved the plans to move forward with this, now it has to go to the state's controlling board. Then the district will have to provide its local funding before the state money can come available," said Rick Savors, spokesperson for the OSFC.
He said the district will have one year from the date of the controlling board's approval to provide its local funding. If the district fails to do so, the state funds then become unencumbered.
"The money right now actually has been encumbered for the district, ready to spend. At the end of the year, it's unencumbered, and the if the district should raise its local funding after that, it would then become first priority for funding in our next project cycle," Savors said.
The current Washington-Nile middle school first opened in 1970 as the district's high school until the new high school and an elementary school were built on U.S. 52 in 1999. Citing significant maintenance and environmental issues with the building, the district in March filed papers with the OSFC for the construction of a new middle school.
"We hope to locate the new building on the campus on the back part of our land. We are expecting to be located be-tween the high school and the elementary," Patricia Ciraso, superintendent of Washington-Nile Local Schools said.
The district is anticipating housing around 475 students.
Tanner Stone Holsinger Donges, in Portsmouth, has been chosen as the proposed architects for the project, and the OSFC will name a construction manager.
"It's going to be close to a year before we hope to start moving dirt. We are hoping the beginning of the fill dirt will begin to happen in early spring," Ciraso stated.
She said the district hopes to sell the current middle school building to someone who would use it for some type of community functions.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.