• 61°

Ironton will get word on building plans

Ironton school officials find out Thursday the state’s intentions for new district construction.

Sunday, November 14, 1999

Ironton school officials find out Thursday the state’s intentions for new district construction.

"They have developed what they refer to as a master plan that they will present to us," superintendent Steve Kingery said. "They will give us an idea of what they say we need."

The master plan will come during an Ohio School Facilities Commission meeting in Columbus.

School leaders and residents are eager to read it, but the likely question on everyone’s minds is will the commission suggest keeping the old high school or scrapping it for a new one, principal Larry Stall said.

"People aren’t talking about it," Stall said. "I think some are waiting to see what will happen."

Stall added that he is like most people – guardedly anxious.

"I hope something really good is planned for our building," he said. "I wouldn’t be in favor of tearing down this building down. It’s been a mainstay of the community."

Once the plan is released, community opinion probably will vary widely, Kingery said.

Many want to save a beautiful historic structure, while others don’t want students to be deprived of a new, state-of-the-art building, he said.

The answer depends largely on the facilities commission report Thursday, and once commission members write a plan, the state usually considers it final, Kingery said.

"But also from talking to other superintendents who have gone through this if we can come up with compelling reasons for wanting to make adjustments, then they will consider those," he said. "And then they might tell us we need exactly what we want."

Regardless of the state’s answer, the Ironton community will have a big say in future construction, too, by joining with district officials during the decision-making process, Kingery said.

Two advisory boards, one for residents and one for businesses, are in the planning stages.

"One of the things we wanted to do is wait until we’re through this process (with the facilities commission). We want our advisory boards to be more than names on paper," Kingery said. "We want them to have a real voice in how to develop the plan."

Already, several people have expressed an interest in serving on the boards, he said.

And, once they’re formed, the boards can help "create excitement and interest in community to accomplish what it is we hope to accomplish," Kingery said.

But the district needs a construction timetable and that begins Thursday, he said.

The district began planning for new schools in late summer when state officials announced that Ironton was nearing its turn on the construction funding list.

Commission representatives toured Ironton schools, taking pictures and reviewing checklists. School officials presented data on building deficiencies, needs for new classrooms and ideas for refurbishing some existing facilities.

That refurbishment seems a real possibility for Stall.

Install central heating and air conditioning, work on venting, electric and accessibility, and you will have a nice building, he said.