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From September 2016 through March 2017, the Athens City School District Facilities Steering Committee met at least twice monthly to discuss facilities needs and potential changes in the facilities organization of the Athens City School District. At the February 2017 Board Meeting, anticipating that one of the options forwarded to the Board of Education would be the concept of a single PreK-5 campus, the Athens City School District Board of Education directed the Superintendent to investigate the availability of a suitable parcel(s) of property necessary for the creation of a single-campus solution for grades PreK-5 for the District. The intent of the Board of Education in giving this directive to the Superintendent was to begin the process of determining the feasibility of implementing the options from the Steering Committee.
In regards to the single campus option, Dr. Gibbs met with both private and public individuals throughout the community to provide multiple options for consideration. As part of the process, Dr. Gibbs met with Ohio University Vice President of Finance and Administration, Deb Shaffer and inquired about any potential University property. The University shared the Ridges Framework Plan and the potential opportunities”. Specifically, the property that school district officials felt would be a potential property to consider is the parcel(s) that rests immediately adjacent to The Summit at Coates Run and Carriage Hill Apartments and has had some predevelopment work completed (fill, leveling, etc.) The location has been determined to be of an adequate size to accommodate 2-3 buildings, parking, and play/green space. This particular location is near the bike path, close to partner institutions such as the Kennedy Museum, the Dairy Barn Art Center, and the Ohio University College of Education. It would be possible to create pathways for active transportation between the location and some of our residential neighborhoods.
The Athens City School District is unique in Ohio given the close proximity with a major university. An elementary campus location, if supported by the local community, would be optimally located on this identified property. Vice President Shafer has had preliminary internal conversations with University stakeholders and has communicated that she believes a partnership of this nature would be strongly supported by the University Administration and members of the Board of Trustees.
Next Steps for the District will include garnering community input as to a single elementary campus located within the City of Athens on the identified site within The Ridges. Should the Board of Education find sufficient community support to move in this direction, Dr. Gibbs and Vice President Shaffer would negotiate terms of a property transfer contingent upon the location of the Athens City School District Elementary School Campus on the specified property. The Athens City School District Board of Education, the State Department of Administrative Services, and the Ohio University Board of Trustees would be required to approve any final agreement.