|Council and BOE discuss future for middle and elementary sites|
|Written by Editor|
|Thursday, 24 May 2012 19:08|
By JOYELL NEVINS
“We’re just having an open conversation on plans, desires, and dreams,” said Matt Kline, municipal manager, to the Milton-Union Board of Education Monday night at a joint meeting of the board and the village council.
The purpose was to discuss the future of the acreage that the current high, middle and elementary buildings stand on. There are still a lot of variables and possibilities, but what is definite is that both buildings will be coming down.
Asbestos abatement, which is required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, will begin in August. Depending on how long that takes, the middle and elementary building should be coming down in September or October. The high school then will be demolished in January or February.
What is also definite is that Memorial Stadium will be staying and functioning right where it is.
“It was cost prohibitive (to move or build a new stadium), so we made the decision to stay there,” Board President Jodi Minneman said.
Since there will no longer be a high school building, that also means no more locker rooms and public bathrooms during football games. So, the board of education approved a contract Monday with Bilbrey Construction for the building of a joint locker complex at the east side of the stadium, and two concession stands at the west, along with public restrooms. The total cost is $714, 395. Construction is set to begin in June.
“This is a long term commitment, because we plan on the football field staying there forever,” Minneman said.
The parking lot behind the high school will remain after demolition, along with space for parking on Washington and Jefferson Streets.
The future of the tennis courts across from the stadium is less certain. On Monday, the board also approved a contract for the design and construction of six new tennis courts at the Lowry complex. The courts will be built at the northwest end, between the parking lot and the woods.
Ruetschle Architects, who also designed the new school, was hired to design the tennis courts at a cost of $16,200. Schumacher-Dugan was awarded the contract for construction of the courts, to cost $146,385.
“There is a lot of land,” Board member Larry Dehus said, “It opens it up for recreational and many other opportunities.”
He further stated that the school would not at this time be selling any of the land for housing, as the market’s not there. On the middle and elementary side, parking on Wright will be left, but all the other buildings and parking areas will be demolished. The remaining area must have 90 percent of the grass filled in, according to Dehus.
Both the board and council members agreed the green space left by the demolition should be used by the community – specifically children.
“We want to do what’s best for the community and the kids,” Minneman said.
Kline agreed, “That was part of my interview process, was doing something for the kids.”
Kline and Mayor Michael Coate II suggested a splash pad. Instead of a pool, which according to Kline is financially out of the question, a pad would be like a water playground. There would be sprinklers and structures like buckets that fill up with water and then dump out all at once.
“Little kids absolutely eat it up,” Kline said, referring to the community where he worked in Sandusky that installed one.
Kline pointed out that a pad would be more feasible at the school site than the Municipal Park because it’s easy access for police patrol (there are too many hiding spots in the city park), and it is geographically centered in the community.
At the round table discussion, all agreed that a splash pad would be a good idea, but were still fuzzy on where it would go. Coate and Kline had thought on the east side of Jay, right next to the tennis courts, but board members were uneasy with vandal opportunities and traffic on Jay. It was suggested to build the pad on the east side, closer to where the middle school sits now.
“I think that would be fantastic,” Kevin Hartlage said. Hartlage is a resident who lives on Wagner, one block over from the elementary school, who also attended the meeting.
Other council member suggestions for the future green space included a skate park for skateboarders and a dog park. A board member suggested bringing back the exercise course that used to be around the outskirts of the area.
Kline did note that there would be grant funding involved in building the pad, so completion is at least a couple years down the road.
To add your community input, contact Matt Kline at (937) 698-1500 or Superintendent Ginny Rammel at (937) 884-7910.