I know it's a little early, but I wanted to welcome everyone back for the 2019-2020 school year! There has been a lot of activity throughout the District over the summer and we are looking forward to welcoming our students back to school. This is certain to be an exciting and eventful year. The Faculty and Staff throughout the District have been working very hard this summer to make sure we are ready for the 2019-2020 school year. Please see several updates below.
- Earlier this Spring the Board, Administration, and the District's Representatives for the construction project (RVC) had several meetings where we asked for input from members of the community, teachers, and staff regarding the new building construction. Since that time, Schorr Architects has worked with the administrative team and their engineering partners to create a draft site plan for the East Elementary School site. Several concerns that were raised included noise pollution, ways to separate car traffic from bus traffic, the chimney as a habitat for swifts, balancing parking with green space, and protecting the large trees on the Wallace side of the building. Please see a copy of the site plan below. This plan creates a bus only driveway that extends the current Verona Street to Wallace, effectively separating bus traffic from car traffic during bus pickup and drop-off. By reorienting the building towards Maplewood, some distance is created between the houses on Morris and the mechanical systems of the building, reducing the negative impacts of noise pollution. At this time, dependent upon the stability of the chimney, the chimney would be located very near (and could potentially be a part of) the retaining wall between the Verona driveway and the homes on Morris. This could be a very creative architectural feature that both celebrates the history of the building and adds to the aesthetics of the site. On the backside of the building, there is the possibility that the art space and library could walk out onto a patio area adjacent to the playground. By keeping the new building a similar distance away from Wallace Street, the large trees in the front of the building should not be impacted. With the purchase of the three homes (2 on Maplewood and one on Verona), there is a possibility of adding off-street parking for faculty/staff while also maintaining space for grassy areas for field play at recess or after school. There will even be plenty of space for a school garden if desired. While more specific details need to be determined, this basic site plan addresses the most significant concerns raised during our preliminary community conversations. We are very thankful to those who have taken the time to contact us or attend meetings and provide support. Later this summer we'll be sharing the site plan for Morrison-Gordon ES and getting into the specific building details for both new buildings. Please be on the lookout for announcements about meetings related to the selection of architectural styles, building exteriors and interiors and other design elements of the buildings.
- The 8 room classroom structure at the East-West Elementary Site is set and electric has been connected by AEP. The contractor should complete final electrical work and seek an occupancy inspection early next week so our teachers and staff can get into classrooms early if they like to be able to prepare for the new year.
- We have been collecting all excess and unused furnishings from throughout the district and placing them in the gymnasium at East Elementary School. Much the same as we did at Chauncey last school year, we will have a "yard sale" of those items in early September (date TBA).
- Asbestos abatement at East Elementary School should begin in mid-September and the demolition of the building should begin by late October. We've had several requests for bricks and will work out some means of making bricks available. Once we've determined how this will work, a message will be sent out via IC and on our social media channels.
- The Transportation Department is finalizing bus routes for the coming year this week. We will communicate basic route information (stops, approximate times, etc.) via Infinite Campus next week.
- The Athens City School District Offices will be moving from our current location in The Plains to the old Chauncey Elementary building at 21 Birge Drive in Chauncey within the next two weeks. Our phone numbers should remain the same. Our mailing address will be P.O. Box 9, Chauncey, Ohio 45719.
I cannot begin to express my gratitude to our summer maintenance and custodial crew for all of the work they have already completed this summer and for all the work yet to get accomplished before the first day of school. It has been an incredible exercise in multi-tasking and I appreciate their efforts. I am also very appreciative of our teachers and staff who packed everything up this spring and will be unpacking classroom materials soon. I know moving is difficult and adds to the already stressful work that they have. Many people have put in many hours to assure a great start the school year. Thank you!
Thomas J. Gibbs, Ed.D.
Athens City School District