Research facility proposed for Springfield Twp. has some residents concerned

A Rhode Island-based biotechnology company is looking to expand in Clark County, and some area residents have voiced concern over the proposed location.

Exponential Genomics, also called “Xenomics,” wants to repurpose the former Rockway Elementary School at 3500 W. National Road in Springfield Twp. as a research and development facility.

The former Clark-Shawnee School District building closed last June due to the district opening the Clark-Shawnee Elementary School. The building was sold to Xenomics for $394,000.

A public hearing for the rezoning of the property from a B-3 general business district and A-agricultural district to an O-2 office district is slated for Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. at the Springfield Twp. Administration Office, located at 2777 Springfield-Xenia Road.

Xenomics’ application for rezoning the old school site passed through the CEDA regional planning commission of Clark County and the Springfield Twp. Zoning Commission in January, Springfield Twp. trustee Tim Foley said. The township trustees’ decision on the application is the final step in the rezoning process.

The township’s zoning board sent letters to households within 300-feet of the former school property flagging them to the proposed rezoning, reaching 28 households, Foley said.

Xenomics plans to move into the property “as is” and does not plan on making material changes, according to a statement provided by Xenomics CEO David Preiner.

Ed Thomas, who lives in Springfield Twp., said he and a collection of several dozen township residents have concerns regarding the company’s proposed use of the old school building. The group is concerned with the age of the building, its infrastructure and its proximity to waterways that run into Mad River, among other items.

Preiner said that operations at the facility will be regulated by several agencies such as the Ohio Department of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the beginning Xenomics plans to employ 5 to 10 people. The employees will be scientists, technicians and researchers, according to Preiner.

All work will be conducted indoors. Xenomics will receive regular deliveries at the facility, but the company does not expect traffic, excessive vehicles nor traffic noise at the property. There will also be no pedestrian foot traffic.

“Xenomics is looking forward to moving to Springfield Twp. and plans to be a good neighbor,” Preiner said.