By Sue Kiesewetter
MONROE - For the next two years, Verity Middle School students will call the old Lemon-Monroe Junior-Senior High School home.
A contract approved this week by the Middletown and Monroe boards of education will allow the Monroe building to be used by Middletown Schools while three elementary schools are built in Middletown.
It also saves the building. Monroe had set aside money to demolish the school once its K-12 facility opened later this summer at the Ohio 63/Yankee Road intersection.
"When they're finished using it, if a golden opportunity doesn't come up, we'll probably talk about (razing) it again," said Monroe Superintendent Arnol Elam.
For now, all but the top floor will be used as a middle school while Middletown begins implementing its reconstruction plan.
Students and staff from McKinley and Wilson elementary schools will move to Verity for the next two years.
Those buildings will be razed and new schools for 503 students will be rebuilt on the sites.
McKinley's Gifted and Talented Education program will move to the Manchester building during construction. A new building for Creekview Elementary also is being built on its existing site, adjacent to Creekview.
Middletown will pay $19,167 monthly rent for two years plus utilities to Monroe. Middletown must also maintain the building, which can be leased for two more years at $20,125 per month the first year and $21,131 per month the second.
Middletown Business Manager Frank Chapman said site preparation work for all three new elementary schools would begin this fall with construction starting next February or March. The new elementary schools are slated to open in time for the 2006-2007 school year.
The remodeling of Amanda Elementary will begin next summer and should be completed by summer 2006, Chapman said. During the 2005-2006 school year, Amanda fifth-graders will join Wilson and McKinley students at Verity Middle School while sixth-graders join students in Monroe.
This fall, a team that will include school administrators and a representative from each school attendance area will work with a facilitator to begin planning for changes in attendance boundaries when the schools open.
"We know this is an inconvenience for a lot of people," Price said. "But we're keeping our eye on the target: brand new, state-of-the-art buildings for our kids."
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