Wednesday, January 24, 2001

$150M schools plan favored

Hamilton board seeks public input

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Freshmen in three junior high schools would move to a new ninth-grade building under a $150 million master facilities plan recommended Tuesday to the Hamilton Board of Education.

        Superintendent Janet Baker also proposed replacing Hamilton's 14 elementary and kindergarten buildings with nine new elementary schools. Wilson and Garfield junior high schools would become middle schools for grades seven and eight. George Washington Junior High would close.

        Tenth- through 12th-graders would continue to go to Hamilton High and the adjoining Job Development Center, which would become one comprehensive high school.

        The plan would be implemented over eight to 10 years and would be paid for with proceeds from a $45 million bond issue voters approved two months ago and with money from the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

        Hamilton's share would be about 40 percent, with the state covering the rest provided the projects met the commission's criteria.

        “We have a wonderful opportunity,” said Glenn Stitsinger, vice president of the school board. “We had a choice of repairing buildings built between 1909 and the 1950s, or state-of-the-art facilities. This is not going to be easy. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs.”

        Before the board of education makes a decision on the proposal, it will listen to comments from the public.

        Three 90-minute town meetings, each beginning at 7 p.m., have been scheduled. They will be held Jan. 30 at Garfield Junior High; Feb. 1, George Washington Junior High; and Feb. 6, Wilson Elementary School.

        Board President Larry Bowling said the board could make a decision on the plan or any modifications as early as the Feb. 13 meeting.


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