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Ironton Board to meet potential architects

Final review of two architectural firms will start the clock ticking toward new Ironton schools, if the state finalizes funding this year.

Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Final review of two architectural firms will start the clock ticking toward new Ironton schools, if the state finalizes funding this year.

The Ironton Board of Education will meet in special session at 5 p.m. today to hear from two architects – a choice already narrowed from the 11 interested in a project last year.

"Both are excellent but one of the real challenges (in school projects) is getting a bond levy passed," superintendent Steve Kingery said.

Before making a final decision, the district wants to see what kind of assistance the firms can give the school system on putting together an informational program on construction and a levy, Kingery said.

The board needs to make a decision on an architect by the Feb. 26 board meeting, he said.

The district began planning for possible new schools in late summer 1999, when the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC) notified the board that the district was nearing its turn on the construction funding list.

Facilities 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.

Keeping the current high school intact was central to local concerns, and OSFC leaders eventually approved that general idea.

Preliminary plans outline the refurbishment of the high school and middle school and call for a new building to replace Whitwell, Kingsbury and West Ironton elementaries.

There are alternatives to consider along the way, and there are no guarantees the projects will receive state funding this year, Kingery said.

"We do know we’re 17th on the list," he said. "If they fund 17 or more, then we’re funded this year and we’ll be able to go to the ballot in November."

If the OSFC funds 16 projects, Ironton would have to wait a year but would be first on the list then, he added.

A timeline for the project is in place for this year, however.

At the March meeting, the architect will make a presentation about OSFC requirements and a building plan the board will ultimately need to adopt, Kingery said.

A decision could come in April on that master plan.

Once a plan is adopted, it will be presented to the OSFC in May. The OSFC could make a final funding decision in June.