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Ironton officials to host public talk about schools project

A community meeting to air plans for the upcoming Ironton City Schools bond levy and school facilities project is slated for next Tuesday, July 26.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Bowman Auditorium on the Ohio University Southern campus.

Following a study and a recommendation by a school facilities steering committee, the Ironton Board of Education in May opted to go to the voters in November and ask for money to build new school facilities for the district.

Superintendent Dean Nance said the meeting is an opportunity for those who have questions about the proposal to get answers.

"The entire community needs to attend this meeting," Nance said. "Whether you feel we need new schools or not, you need to attend. There is a lot of misinformation out there and we will have people who can answer questions. We consider this a kickoff for the entire bond levy campaign."

On hand will be representatives from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which funds school building projects, and representatives from the architectural teams.

Speaking to the board Monday, Nance acknowledged that there is a great deal of concern among community members about what the project entails.

"I get faced with a lot of questions every day, people come up to me on the street and say things and some of it, I just don't know where they get it," he said.

"You should try going to a block party or a neighborhood picnic," board member Tim Johnson agreed.

The proposal being offered for the November vote is to build a new elementary school, a new middle school and a new junior high/high school at a cost of $41.7 million excluding any locally funded initiatives (LFIs). The state will pay for 73 percent of the project. The rest of the cost, $11.2 million plus any LFIs, will be paid by area property owners.

The proposal to build all new schools was one of three considered. Other options included building new facilities for the lower grades but renovating the high school.