LaBrae schools look at their renovation-vs.-new building options

LEAVITTSBURG — The LaBrae Board of Education may consider renovating Bascom Elementary or building a new school and adding it onto the rest of the school complex.

The Board of Education has approved applying for an active planning process with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.

Schools Superintendent Anthony Calderone said this week the board and administrators are looking at options for a possible future reconfiguration of the complex, mostly dealing with the over-60-year-old Bascom Elementary School that houses kindergarten to second grade. He said some sections of the building are 67 years old.

He said the OFCC has notified the district about their status to possibly participate in the classroom facilities assistance program in 2020.

”At this point everything is purely exploratory. There are no definite plans. We just want to look at options,” Calderone said.

Calderone said when the district constructed its grades 3-12 complex — completed in 2005 — the district received 70 percent of the project costs from the state. If the district in the future were to consider a building reconfiguration project, it would be eligible for 90 percent of the costs covered by the state, Calderone said.

The board will work with OFCC representatives to look at future enrollment trends to see if it’s better to keep Bascom or add an elementary school onto the complex.

”If the enrollment trends show we are not increasing in students, we may want to look at reconfiguring the buildings. We would see what it would involve to reconfigure some space and what would be a viable option. At this point everything is being explored and options are being reviewed, but nothing is official,” he said.

The current complex has separate areas with grades 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Board of Education President Russell Sewell said the passage of the motion to possibly participate in 2020 with OFCC and is ”a formality as part of the planning process.”

Sewell said OFCC representatives would come to the district and review the buildings to see if it is viable to make improvements or additions or add a section to the new school complex.

Sewell said the district is on a list for possible conditional approval in 2020 to participate in the facilities assistance program.