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School district keeping open mind on buildings

As most citizens know, the Ironton Board of Education has put several buildings up for auction on July 6 at 10 a.m. at 105 S. 5th St.

These include: the Board of Education Office, Whitwell School, Lawrence Street School, West Ironton School and Central School.

The board has indicated that as good stewards of the taxpayers’ money they would only entertain bids at, or close to, the appraisal price. Appraisals are online at www.tigertown.com.

The money garnered from this auction will be used to build a vocational tech/bus facility, upgrade facilities not covered by the Ohio Schools Facility Project, namely the Conley Center and Tanks Memorial Stadium, and to help in retiring the bond issue.

Studies are currently being done on the safety of Tanks Stadium and the Conley Center bleachers/floor.

West Ironton and Whitwell have monies allocated through the OSFC project for demolition if they fail to bring reasonable offers. These sites would then be sold as residential house sites.

Lawrence Street School, Central School and the Board of Education office do not have demolition dollars allocated because the State of Ohio only pays for demolition of schools that were housing Ironton City School students at the time of making the State of Ohio’s new schools list.

Any building or buildings that remain, meaning not demolished, sold or used by the district, may be protected by fencing for liability reasons.

The board of education will demolish dilapidated buildings when financially feasible and sell the land as house sites. The goal is to dispose of property in an expedited and fiscally responsible manner.

We want to protect the neighborhoods of Ironton from vandalism and maintain and even increase the value of the neighborhood properties.

My preliminary ideas, not yet presented to the board of education, are as follows:

If all buildings sell at fair market value: We build a new BOE office/Vocational Tech/ Bus Facility on the IHS site.

If no buildings sell: The BOE office remains where it is currently located, we demolish buildings that have demolition money allocated and sell house sites from this property.

We could utilize one of the buildings that does not have demolition funding for a vocational tech/bus facility, thus saving the rental fees of the armory. We would then build a new vocational tech/bus facility at IHS site as the district can afford it.

If some buildings sell at fair market value: Decisions will be dependent on remaining buildings. We would demolish buildings that have demolition dollars allocated, house the BOE office, the vocational tech/ bus facility in one or more of the remaining sites and build a vocational tech/ bus facility at IHS site as the district can afford it.

These are all ideas. No plans can be made until we see what, if anything, sells on bid day. I was made aware that the zoning of all Ironton City School property is residential.

This may mean that we would have to continue renting a location for our buses until which time we can complete the construction of a new vocational tech/bus facility at IHS site.

When we know the pieces of this puzzle with which we have to work, one thing is certain, my recommendation to the board of education will be in the best interest of children and financially sound for the taxpayers of Ironton.

Dean Nance is the superintendent for the Ironton School District.