The Athens City School District Board of Education approved a contract on Thursday for the use of eight modular classrooms at West Elementary School. 

The modular classrooms, which will be leased from Innovative Modular Solutions, will be used at West Elementary School to house students from East Elementary School during the interim period of the first phase of the ACSD rebuilding project

The contract states that the modular classrooms will be used during the three school-year period of time that it will take to construct new preschool to third grade buildings at the current locations of East and Morrison-Gordon elementary schools. 

“The modular classrooms will have the same amenities as the brick-and-mortar school building that they will sit next to.“ ACSD Superintendent Tom Gibbs said at the Thursday school board meeting. This includes fire alarms, intercom systems, heating, cooling and internet access. 

They will sit about eight to ten feet from the main building, and will be situated in the parking lot. That means some space on the playground will be used, and that additional parking will have to be created, Gibbs said. 

The board of education also approved the district to become a member of the Cupp-Patterson School Funding Work Group, an informal workgroup of Ohio school superintendents and treasurers led by Ohio House Reps. Bob Cupp (R-Lima) and John Patterson (D-Jefferson). 

The Cupp-Patterson Workgroup has the mission of creating a new proposal for state education funding that is fair, rational and justifiable, according to their website. Cupp and Patterson presented their proposal during a press conference on Monday, but did not reveal what it would cost to the state. 

Tony Schorr, president of Schorr Architects, the architecture firm that is tasked with planning and designing for the first phase of the ACSD rebuilding project, said that the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission enrollment projections for the district recently changed, predicting that there could be 200 fewer students in the district. 

Due to the role that enrollment numbers currently play in state funding, that could mean a change in the amount of money that the state will pay to the school district for the construction of the new schools, which could affect the planning of the new schools. 

The playground at the current East Elementary School building, which children in the neighborhoods surrounding East Elementary also play on, will be fenced off for demolition on Sept. 1, Gibbs said. Some areas of the playground might be able to stay outside the fence, Mike Dingeldein of Community Design Alliance, a design firm partnered with Schorr Architects, said.