Thursday, August 29, 2002

Schools plan to cost $24K

Kings district hires Mason architects

By Erica Solvig,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — The architects who designed the new Mason High School and Community Center have been hired to evaluate the Kings junior high and high school campus.

        Kings Local Board of Education accepted a proposal by Voorhis, Slone, Welsh, Crossland Architects to assess the two buildings on Columbia Road. The assessment will guide the district in long-term plans for better use of space and possible expansion.

        Two other companies also presented proposals at a meeting Tuesday night before the board selected the Mason firm.

        “It's the option that's best for us,” board President Roger Jones said at the meeting.

        The assessment will cost $24,700, not including cost for an enrollment projection study. Enrollment studies have been done in recent years, and the board has not decided if another is needed.

        Master plans are common when school districts are considering expansions and renovations, said Earl Crossland, a partner in the firm that has done work in Mason and Loveland school districts.

        “When you are dealing with two existing buildings and all the facilities on the site, and are wanting to expand those facilities, there are so many things to think about that you just really need a master plan,” Mr. Crossland said.

        The firm will start assessing the buildings next week.

        The firm will interview teachers and administrators to get an idea of their needs. They also plan to hold two community meetings, tentatively scheduled for the end of October and November.

        Mr. Crossland said issues include the restrictive size of the site — 63acres for both schools — as well as traffic flow, parking and the location of the bus facility.

        The master plan also will look at how to improve the athletic facilities, which has been discussed for years.

        A fund-raising campaign to raise money for an athletic training center and stadium complex was halted in May after the amount needed was not reached. But ideas from that campaign will be considered when the architects develop the master plan, Mr. Crossland said.

        The junior high was built in 1967. The high school was built in 1989 and expanded in 1996.

        Once the assessment is finished, “we should have a pretty good handle on how we should improve the facilities,” Superintendent David Query said. “Ultimately, we'll come to a conclusion as to whether or not we should go ahead with this project, in the best interests of the students and the community.”


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