To recap, we have three schools in Finneytown. We have Brent K-1, Whitaker 2-5, and Secondary Campus 6-12. We have just over 1400 students in these 3 buildings. OFCC recommends any district with less than 1500 students should build one K-12 building. Through the 35 meetings held last year, it was decided that the best plan is to build two new buildings. A K-6 on the Brent property and a 7-12 on the secondary campus property. If you missed it, I explained why on the second day of my blog.
Once the new buildings are being used, the old secondary campus and Whitaker will be demolished and abated. (All old buildings have to be abated in the event there is asbestos in any of the materials used to build that long ago.) At that point, we can sell the Whitaker and Cottonwood properties as we should no longer need them. The proceeds from these sales can be used to prolong the need for an operating levy.
I have been asked if we will have to find temporary places for our children while we build. The answer is no. We have very carefully planned to hold classes at Brent and Whitaker while the new elementary is built on the softball field behind Brent. This will save our community around a million dollars. The construction will be separated from the students by fences and workers will stay on one side while students stay on the other. The district also owns the property right next to the softball field to the south. It is a house and some land. That house will be removed and that land will be used for the new school as well. By shifting the building south a little, we plan to keep the baseball field where it is.
While new buildings are being built, we will have to be very strategic about outdoor sports. The softball field will be out of commission almost right away until the secondary campus is completed. Our Athletic Director, Gerald Warmack, has already been busy checking with surrounding schools, parks and other facilities to find places we can use until we build our new field. As I mentioned, the plan is not to disturb the baseball field. We may have to get creative about how it is accessed during construction but we can make it work.
Brent school, driveway, parking, and playgrounds will be unaffected and available during construction so should be business as usual. Whitaker, since there will be no construction there, will be normal with no interruptions. Cottonwood will continue to be used as practice fields and is even being looked at as a possible softball field for a few years. It will be maintained as it is now.
At first, the secondary campus will not be interrupted by construction. What will happen though once the bond issue passes, is that the football stadium will get turf. This helps in many ways. Currently our field is grass and it is easy for it to become muddy if it is used too much because the grass wears off. It is also costly to maintain with mowing and continually putting lines for different sports. With turf, we would have unlimited use of the field. That field is used by football (varsity and JV), band, soccer (boys and girls), and track. All of them practice other places because the field cannot handle the use. Turf would allow all to use the field as timing and schedule allow. Schools around us have turf. Those in our league have turf. Research shows that turf is better and there are less injuries. Also, with turf, the district can rent out the field in the off seasons. Mr. Warmach often has adult league groups contact him about renting the field. He was offered a 2 day weekend tournament for $5000 but when they found out we didn’t have turf, they backed out. We would not be able to do a lot of rental, but, having some would help offset the cost of sports and help us continue to be the only one in our league who does not charge students to play sports. Out of town till next Thursday so more then.