Greenon Local Schools hosts a forum to discuss the future of school buildings.

Greenon discusses options for new schools

District tries to build consensus before issue put in front of voters.

Greenon Local Schools officials are trying to craft a new school bond issue that the Enon community will pass.

To do so, officials hosted about 60 people at a forum Wednesday night at the the Greenon High School gymnasium, where many community members expressed their desire for at least one new school building in the district.

School officials recently gave a tour of the high school to the Springfield News-Sun and expressed concerns over leaks, electrical needs and cooling issues, among other things.

“We moved into town in 1993 and took a very good tour which they are offering, and I don’t need to do it today because the place was falling apart then,” Denise Derge said.

It’s time for new facilities, Derge said. She said she would support a new K-12 building at the current Indian Valley Middle School location.

“You would have it at the center of the community, and you have property that you can construct a nice facility that can encompass the whole K-12 student population,” Derge said.

Another community member, David Leist, said he to agrees it is important for a building project to involve all students in the district.

“I think the community would be in favor if it went to a new facility that encompasses all 1,500-plus students,” Leist said.

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Charlie Jahnigen, vice president of SHP Leading Design, gave a presentation and discussed what type of options the school district might have.

He presented eight options that would address needs in all three schools in the district. The options ranged from building one or two new schools and moving students into those buildings to renovating the existing structures. He said costs would range in the upper $40 million but with state aid, the cost for locals would decrees to about $30 million.

Greenon Local Schools Superintendent Brad Silvus said district leaders are taking the community’s opinion seriously and declined to comment on which option he feels is best.

“At this point it is not really about what I like, and it’s not really about what the board likes,” Silvus said. “It is about what the community likes. The goal is tonight to talk through those options and then the next community survey will give more details about those options.

“The ones we hear the most about we will take and the next meeting will be centered around the three or four most common,” Silvus said.

The next community forum will take place on Oct. 12 at Indian Valley Middle School.

A general survey released a couple weeks before the meeting Wednesday night asked takers if they felt there was a need for new facilities. Silvus said more than 130 people took the survey and 94 percent of respondents said yes.

Leaders realize they have to reach a larger audience.

“It’s a small sample size,” Silvus said of the early tests. “The real challenge is over 70 percent of our residents here don’t have kids in schools. We know we can’t just have meetings here like this. We have to go to the community and different places and talk with as many people as we can.”

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