(Yi-Ke Peng/WOUB)

Athens Board To Discuss Future of High School Thursday

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A group of experts will make a recommendation to the Athens City Schools Board of Education about what to do with Athens High School on Thursday night.

According to Athens superintendent Tom Gibbs, an architect and a member of the district’s Facilities Steering Committee are two of the people who will advise the district on whether renovations should be made to the existing structure, or if new construction is the better way to go.

“The goal is just to help them to better understand the condition of the building, the finances related to which direction they chose to go so that they can start to make decisions about the individual pieces about the overall pre-k-to-12 master plan,” Gibbs said.

Building information listed on the Steering Committee’s website lists renovation construction costs at almost $24 million. It would take about $30 million to build a new building.

“The pros of a new building are that any new construction in the state of Ohio is expected to be at least Silver Leed certified, which is in regards to energy efficiency and sustainability. We can certainly update and provide more 21st century learning environment. The pros of renovating are that you’re using what’s already there. The cost is arguably lower,” Gibbs said.

According to previous WOUB reporting, the Ohio School Facilities Commission is using the same figures they found during 1999-2000 work and the same wealth assessment as a calculation for the 32 percent funding they have agreed to give the district.

Twenty-six issues are listed in the facilities assessment of the high school. Only four items are listed as satisfactory. The rest are evaluated as needing repair or replacement. The school’s heating system, roof, electrical systems, windows and technology are some of the things listed as needing replacement.

Gibbs said the board does not intend to make a final decision at the meeting. The Board has until Sept. 30 of this year to decide.
The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at Athens High School.