Athens County School Board Gets Community Opinion on New Schools

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The Athens County Board of Education is moving forward with a plan to completely renovate multiple buildings in the school district.

Schorr Architects, the company designing the new buildings gave the community an opportunity to voice their opinions on what the exterior of East Elementary and Morrison-Gordon Elementary should look like during a presentation at a recent school board meeting. Community members who attended the meeting were able to vote on styles including traditional red brick schoolhouse, traditional ivy league campus, public monument, traditional materials/contemporary details and contemporary/non-traditional. 

A Schorr representative showed examples of each style from other Ohio schools like Little Miami High School near Cincinnati and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Some people in attendance said they weren’t just thinking about what they want the schools to look like.

“I also tried to think about what fit in to the neighborhood. I live right near East Elementary School,” Courtney Koestler, a parent in Athens County said. “I was also thinking what kinds of schools I would want my kid to go to and what kind of school I would want kids in our community to go to.” 

Schorr Architects also gave school employees the opportunity to give their input.

“They also did the same exact presentation to our staff today so all of our school teachers were able to come and get the same presentation right at the end of their school day, so they didn’t have to come back in the evening.” Kim Goldsberry, the Athens County School Board President said. 

Community members at the meeting also expressed concern about the sustainability of these new buildings. The state of Ohio evaluates schools’ sustainability based on things like water efficiency, energy and materials. The state evaluates and certifies schools into LEED categories: certified, silver, gold and platinum.

“We would like to be LEED gold if not higher but LEED is just a certification. Our hope is that we can spend our money wisely so we can be even more sustainable,” Goldsberry said.  

The state of Ohio requires school buildings to be at least LEED silver.

Goldsberry says the next steps include a yard sale at East Elementary in October and demolishing East Elementary so construction can begin this winter.

The Athens County Middle School’s roof will also be replaced in the next few months because of a risk of interior damage, Goldsberry said.