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Plans in the works for Ironton school project

Ironton school board members, its architect firm and a community committee continue discussions on the district’s master plan for school construction.

Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Ironton school board members, its architect firm and a community committee continue discussions on the district’s master plan for school construction.

The board and Fanning/Howey Associates Inc. of Columbus unveiled three plans earlier this month for the renovation of the high and middle schools and addition of new elementary classrooms.

"They are the choices the board has," superintendent Steve Kingery said. "Hopefully, the community committee can make a recommendation on which way to go."

Monday night, architects explained the master plans in more detail – listing estimated costs, Ohio School Facilities Construction guidelines that must be followed and discussing line items in the renovations, which are designed to maintain the "look" of the historic high school.

The biggest decision seems to be whether or not to construct a "stand alone" elementary building at the middle school site or add on elementary classrooms to the existing building, said Bruce Runyon of Fanning/Howey. A separate building will likely take up ballfield space, but it also means an extra gymnasium and other spaces, like a media center, while adding on could conserve costs by having only one kitchen, one central office, he said.

"There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and that’s where the district and community needs to look," Runyon said.

The district also needs to consider whether or not to keep the three elementary buildings standing or demolish them.

Also Monday, Runyon addressed comments from previous public meetings, where residents asked about such things as why not a separate building for grades seven and eight.

The OSFC, which retains control over much of the planning, has a rule that it will not help fund buildings for enrollments under 350 students, Runyon said. Putting grades seven and eight in one buildings would result in 263 students, according to enrollment projects, he said.

"There are all kinds of combinations but the ones the OSFC will look at must make sense (with their rules)," he said.

The board’s next step is to vote for one of the three master plans. Another public meeting will be held April 10, at 6:30 p.m., at OUSC’s Riffe Center Rotunda. The board expects a decision on the master plan at the April 23 board meeting.

The total project will be between an estimated $24 million and $26.8 million, with just over $6 million coming from local funding. A levy must be passed before the state share is released.