Greenon Schools welcome public for open house

The new library for the Greenon Schools building at an open house Aug. 29, 2021
The new library for the Greenon Schools building at an open house Aug. 29, 2021

By Brett Turner

ENON – Sunday Greenon Schools had a ribbon cutting and open house for its new K-12 campus.

The $50.6 million project drew hundreds including current students and families, alumni, former staff and community members to the 198,997-square-foot campus on Enon-Xenia Road.

Some alumni wore shirts depicting the original Greenon High, built in 1955, reading “End of an Era” and said they were eager to see what the new facility had in store.

Board president Dennis Henry thanked the community for its support and patience in getting the project going and stressed the importance of keeping the students there safe.

“We hope to make this the center of our community,” Henry said to the crowd.

For Greenon Schools superintendent Darrin Knapke, the project was like a puzzle, going over the various parts and finding them fitting together and now being able to share the completed whole.

“We appreciate the community support and happy to have it finally open,” he said.

Knapke said he is excited about modern features including the courtyard spaces that include amphitheaters where classes can be done outdoors, moveable walls inside the classrooms to allow for co-teaching, and technology advantages including 75-inch SMART Boards and labs.

The high school and middle school are on one wing and the elementary in another and are connected by the central part of the building. Safety features include a double vestibule entrance, segmented locking capabilities, security cameras and separate entrances for buses and parent pick-up and drop-off.

There are gyms for the high school and elementary and an auxiliary gym preserved from Indian Valley Middle School, which resided where the new building currently stands. The outdoor athletic fields will remain at the former high school’s campus on 3950 S. Tecumseh Rd.

One of the most frequent comments Sunday from visitors was how many appreciate the air conditioning, which the former schools lacked. Despite not having that feature during his school days, Greenon ‘85 graduate Kevin Beck recalls them fondly and was drawn to explore the new campus, running into former classmates along the way.

“I’m ready for some new memories,” said Beck, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force and works at Wright-Patterson AFB.

Wendy Peterson, another Greenon graduate who participated in music programs, explored the music room with her daughter, Brenna, who is about to begin her junior year.

“It’s so clean and modern,” said Brenna, who also mentioned the air conditioning as a plus.

Also interested in the music room was Frank Giampetro, who taught music in the district from 1959 until 1986. It was a meeting of three generations when he met with Wendy, a former student, and Brenna to admire the room, which included windows, another feature the former school’s music room lacked.

“I stayed awake all night thinking about all of the kids I’d had over the years,” said Giampetro, who lives in Urbana. He’d been following the school’s progress for several years and also curious to see it.

Incoming first-grader Kinslee Franer, whose dad Chris graduated from Greenon, is eager to get the full school experience after doing blended learning due to the pandemic last year. She was excited her new room has sunglasses, but couldn’t decide what she liked best.

Chris is happy she’ll be able to choose in the new environment.

The only part of the campus still to be completed is the middle school gym, which Knapke said should be done in September. Greenon Schools will begin classes on Sept. 7.