Cottonwood was built in 1962 and was subsequently torn down in 2010 because it became too difficult to maintain. The roof leaks were continual and there were other issues. Brent Elementary was built in 1964 with 29,161 square feet. The gym has steps to go down into it and the hall floors are inclined in places. In 1986 enrollment had drastically declined in the district and the building was leased to Springfield Township. They used it as a community center and air conditioning was added to the classrooms. As enrollment went back up, the district regained use of Brent. In 1998, 6,580 square feet were added. The total 35,741 square feet houses K-1 students and staff today. Modular units were added 3 years ago to provide four more classrooms. This was not ideal as no plumbing for restrooms could be added. Students had to go in and out of the weather just to go to the restroom. Besides that, the classrooms were very small and it inhibited teachers in creating small groups to help differentiate instruction which is so important in the younger grades. Because of this crowding issue at Brent, we looked to see where there was space already in the district. We found space at the secondary campus. 6th grade was moved from Whitaker to the Secondary Campus. 2nd grade was moved from Brent to Whitaker. If you look out across the softball field at Brent today, two of those modular units have been removed. The other two are sitting by Brent ready to be hauled away. This softball area is where the new K-6 elementary school will be built.
Brent is the newest and smallest of the buildings in the district. It was decided that the district should keep Brent and use it for many purposes. It is so small, the state will not provide any funds to renovate it. The smallest buildings they will match funds for is one that will house at least 450 students. We currently have about 200 at Brent and the capacity isn’t much more. As we build new buildings, we have to think about space for the district offices, maintenance, grounds, and other departments and storage since all of this at the secondary campus will be torn down. The OFCC does not match funds to provide extra space to house these departments. Space has to be taken from instructional space to include these. Instead of doing that, we can move all of these departments to Brent without a big investment. Classrooms can be converted to office space for very little cost. In addition, the current Kindergarten rooms can be used to bring preschool back into the district. At the moment, we pay Hamilton County to house our pre-school over in Mt. Healthy.
This building is in the best shape and can be used to save instructional space in the new buildings. The softball field will be relocated to the Secondary Campus after a new building has been completed there. The tennis courts at Brent are cracked and in poor shape also. These can be relocated to the Secondary Campus and actually used for PE classes instead of just after school tennis matches. They would still be available to the community outside of school hours just like they are now and just like the track at the football stadium is. More tomorrow.