The Athens City School District Board of Education is now considering building three new buildings in three new locations after their meeting at Athens High School on Thursday evening. 

Board members were given a presentation by Tony Schorr of Schorr Architects Inc., that showed that to make a single campus work at The Ridges, the board would most likely need 12 more acres than the university has offered. Schorr said that the university has offered 8 acres and the plan he presented to the board requires 20 acres.

Thomas Gibbs, superintendent of the Athens City School District, said the board now may have to consider new options. 

"Presuming that OU is not gonna give us 20 acres or more, what's plan B?" Gibbs said. 

Gibbs said "plan B" may be to use the district's current locations to build grade-level buildings, or build two larger buildings for pre-k to grade five students. He said Board Member Kim Goldberry brought up that idea at a recent meeting.

Goldsberry was the first board member to vote for three schools in the new locations after Gibbs asked the board to consider if they wanted to renovate or rebuild entirely. 

Three of the four elementary schools are above the two-thirds threshold, meaning the state will not provide funding for those schools to be rebuilt, according to a previous Post report. If a building renovation costs more than two-thirds the cost of new construction, the building must be replaced instead of renovated.

Board Member Bruce Nottke believes that the money saved by fixing those elementary schools could be used in other ways.

"The money that is being spent on fixing them could go towards educational programs," Nottke said. 

The Board's discussion of these elementary schools ended with Schorr saying he would look into what he could do with the existing sites. 

Toward the end of the meeting, Gibbs brought up the Chauncey building that is being used for preschool classrooms. 

He said that the Chauncey roof needs to be replaced, but the district may not be able to afford the cost of the replacement. The replacement could cost $350,000 to $400,000.  

"This is real," he said. "This is impacting the environment our students are learning in, and while I do believe wholeheartedly that quality teachers and quality curriculum and such is really what makes our district great, there is a point that the classroom environment (impacts) the  ability for teacher to do the great work that they do."


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