PS holds Community Outreach Forum


By Kelsey Kimbler - kkimbler@registerherald.com



CAMDEN — Preble Shawnee Local School District held its latest Community Outreach Forum on Monday, Nov. 5. During the meeting, past Community Advisory Team meetings were summarized and potential Master Plan Options were shared.

According to Superintendent Matt Bishop, “[The] district has embarked on a comprehensive community engagement process. The purpose of this process is to recommend a facilities master plan to our Board of Education. Preble Shawnee Schools has contracted with SHP Leading Design to facilitate this endeavor. We will also work alongside the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to adequately evaluate our available co-funding options with the state. The objective is to keep an open mind throughout the process.

“A Community Advisory Team will meet many times throughout the fall and winter. The process may result in additional sub-committees to examine specific issues and possibly, additional meetings. Ultimately, the goal is to end with a solid recommendation to our Board of Education. We are committed to completing this process efficiently, competently, and collaboratively.

“In addition to our advisory team meetings, the district will host several Community Outreach Forums. At the first forum, we introduced the engagement process to the community, identified the members of the advisory team, and described the important work we will be doing. There are two other forums planned during the course of the engagement process. These forums will summarize our progress with the purpose of providing transparency through the whole process. Please encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to attend.”

During the latest Community Outreach Forum, SHP Leading Design began by summarizing past Community Advisory Team Meetings. The team has been working to survey the feelings of the group and see where the past plan went wrong.

According to results from the first Community Forum, 42 percent of present community members feel that the school facilities are in “poor” condition, 36 percent feel that they are in “below average” condition, 19 percent feel that they are in “average” condition, and three percent feel that they are in “good” condition.

For Camden Elementary, 44 percent believe the school is in “poor” condition, 33 percent believe the school in in “below average” condition, 19 percent feel the school is in “average” condition, and three percent feel the school is in “good” condition.

For West Elkton Intermediate, 46 percent believe the school is in “poor” condition, 31 percent feel the school is in “below average” condition, 20 percent feel the school is in “average” condition, and three percent believe the school is in “good” condition.

For the Preble Shawnee Junior/Senior High School, 22 percent believe the school is in “poor” condition, 50 percent feel the school is in “below average” condition, 22 percent believe the school is in “average” condition, and six percent feel the school is in “good” condition.

Compared to nearby districts, 86 percent feel that Preble Shawnee’s school buildings are “not as good” as other buildings, with eight percent admitting to not knowing and six percent feeling that the buildings are “about the same.”

Those community members in attendance were asked to agree or disagree with the following statement: “There are conditions in some of our buildings that create an unsuitable environment for learning.” Of those surveyed, 79 percent agreed and 21 disagreed.

They were asked, “Based upon the state co-funding 65 percent of the construction cost, what is the most appropriate decision for the district?” Of those surveyed, 68 percent said to “replace the buildings we have,” 26 percent said to “renovate the buildings we have,” and five percent said “do nothing — maintain what we have.”

The Community Advisory Team was asked to list the pros and cons of the previous plan.

Pros: new facilities, state co-funding, improved resources and technology, safety and security, comfort — heating, cooling, lighting, etc., 21st Century learning, and ease of maintenance.

Cons: district debt and tax implications, West Elkton loses community school, community division, demolition of JS/HS building, demolition of recent additions, and locally funded initiatives.

The following Master Plan options were presented during the meeting:

•Maintain all three buildings, designating Camden as Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, West Elkton as fourth through sixth grade, and Somers-Gratis as seventh through 12th grade.

•Replace all three buildings, designating Camden as Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, West Elkton as fourth through eighth grade, and Somers-Gratis as ninth through 12th grade.

•Replace all three buildings, designating Camden as Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, West Elkton as fourth through sixth grade, and Somers-Gratis as seventh through 12th grade.

•Replace all three buildings, designating Camden as Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade, West Elkton as Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade, and Somers-Gratis as seventh through 12th grade.

•Replace Camden for Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, replace West Elkton for fourth through sixth grade, and renovate Somers-Gratis for seventh through 12th grade.

•Replace Camden for Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade, re-purpose West Elkton as a central office, and renovate Somers-Gratis for sixth through 12th grade.

•Partial demolition of Camden with an addition for Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, partial demolition of West Elkton with an addition for fourth through eighth grade, and a partial demolition for Somers-Gratis with a renovation for ninth through 12th grade.

•Partial demolition for Camden with an addition for Pre-Kindergarten through third grade, partial demolition for West Elkton with an addition for fourth through sixth grade, and a renovation for Somers-Gratis for grades seventh through 12th.

•Close West Elkton, while doing a partial demolition for Camden with an addition for Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade and renovating Somers-Gratis for sixth through 12th grade.

•Close Camden, while doing a partial demolition for West Elkton with an addition for Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade and renovating Somers-Gratis for sixth through 12th grade.

•Close Somers-Gratis, while doing a partial demolition for West Elkton with an addition for Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade and a partial demolition for Camden with an addition for seventh through 12th grade.

•Create a central campus by demolishing Camden and West Elkton and renovating Somers-Gratis for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade with an addition.

•Create a central campus by demolishing West Elkton and constructing a new building for Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade and demolishing either Camden or Somers-Gratis.

•Construct a new Pre-Kindergarten through sixth grade building for either Camden or West Elkton, demolish the remaining elementary campus, and construct a new building for seventh through 12th grade.

A survey was also distributed which asked if there was a Master Plan option not proposed that the community member in question would like to see explored. Those survey results will be shared during the next Community Outreach Forum.

The Community Advisory Team will be meeting again on Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. in the Jr/Sr High School Cafeteria. The next Community Outreach Forum is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. in the Jr/Sr High School Auditorium.

By Kelsey Kimbler

kkimbler@registerherald.com

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH