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Big Hopes, Small Budget Means Lofty Dayton Schools Renovations Will Mostly Wait

The Dayton School Board held a public hearing airing the new District Facility Plan on Wednesday, though no one from the public attended.

Ehmet Hayes, architect from Robert Ehmet Hayes and Associates, PLLC, who acted as the locally-­appointed hearing officer, outlined the purpose of the hearing as well as the hearing procedures, and read the proposed new District Facility Plan.

The plan includes major renovations at Dayton High School, construction in the auditorium and the office administration area, a plan worth about $4.9 million, and major
renovations in Lincoln Elementary as well as the construction of one classroom, a plan worth approximately $4.4 million. In addition, there are discretionary projects at Davis Field and both schools.

"We have over $11 million in projects that we have to list once every five years with the state, just like all school districts," said Ron Kinmon, Director of Student Services . "It is basically a wish list, since right now our bonding potential is about $950,000. But it has to be listed and recorded at the state level."

The board then held a special meeting of members to approve the plan and send it to the State Department of Education. The plan was developed by the Dayton Independent Local Planning Committee, which included principals from both schools, parent representatives from both schools, teacher representatives from both schools, the local planning and zoning representative, Don Riley, and Director of Teaching and Learning Rick Wolf, Ron Kinmon, and Dayton Superintendent Jay Brewer.

The Local Planning Committee voted unanimously in favor of the plan on February 10 of this year, and the board initially approved the plan on February 25 of this year.

In a short meeting, the board took the opportunity to discuss possible projects at Davis Field, which was originally a New Deal project and therefore very old and in need of some repair work. Redesigning the entranceway of the high school was also briefly discussed as a possible project that could be a more affordable option.

"I like the entry idea," said Ehmet Hays. "I can see having more curb appeal as well as a safer and more secure drop off area. If you give your ideas to (Brewer) and he lets me know, I can draw up plans to let you see what you would be dealing with, and I can break projects down into line items to see the cost value."

The board took everything under consideration and then approved the plan. Kinmon doubted that anything would be planned in the near future.

"Nothing will be done anytime soon," he said. "Even if we jumped right on a project, the absolute soonest it could be started would be the summer of 2016. And we are more likely to wait until we have more bonding potential in two years. But we will file our plan with the state and that is what we had to do tonight."

Story & photo by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor