At a May 26 school board meeting, the Lakota Board of
Education approved the satisfactory evidence of financing for a collaboration
agreement established almost two years ago with the Boys & Girls Club of
West Chester/Liberty. The approval sets into motion a long-term land lease that
permits the club to build its new, privately-funded facility on a portion of
the district’s 9-acre property on Cincinnati-Dayton Road.
The school board announced its intent to deliver a final
decision after receiving the club’s evidence of financing at the May 23 board
meeting. The collaboration agreement required the board to review the financing
documentation before implementation.
“We are always in favor of a partnership that has the
potential to serve our community’s youth in a very positive way,” said Lakota
Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia. “Plus, the agreement allows the school
district to retain ownership of valuable acreage, while addressing the costly
expense required to renovate the building (the old Union Elementary School).”
According to an extensive assessment completed by the Ohio
School Facilities Commission in 2009, renovating the old Union Elementary school
would have cost about $10 million, as compared to the approximately $6.5
million the Boys & Girls Club is committing to new construction.
“Through this partnership, the community is gaining a brand
new building that will better serve the needs of our youth,” Mantia continued.
“Achieving this goal, through a thoughtful and intense process and in a
financially responsible manner, is what we aim to accomplish with every major
decision we make.”
“This process has been more than two years in the making
and took a tremendous amount of listening to all our residents and business
leaders and considering what was in the best interest of this community,” said
Lakota Board President Lynda O’Connor. “We held five different public meetings
on this topic before deliberating as a board and coming to an agreement that
considered all perspectives.”
The district and the club will share the demolition cost,
and the Boys & Girls Club will assume all the maintenance costs currently
paid by the district. At the end of the lease term,
the school district will also own the replacement building.
According to the draft project timeline, the demolition
bidding process and building asbestos abatement will take approximately 10
weeks, which means demolition would tentatively begin in early August. Pending
any major setbacks, construction of the new building would begin shortly
The Boys & Girls Club and Lakota Schools have committed
to working with the community to preserve the legacy of the building.
“As excited as we are for what this will provide to
children in our community, we value our community’s loyalty to a place that
served our students and staff so well for so many years,” said O’Connor. “We
will do our very best to capture the historic significance of the building in a
way that the whole community can appreciate for many more years to come.”
The board also amended the agreement’s parking easement. The
revision requires the school district to maintain the same number of parking
spaces during the club’s normal operating hours. It also requires a parking
survey to determine the club’s actual parking needs, giving the school district
the option to retain full use of those spots deemed unnecessary.
For more information about the collaboration agreement
between the Lakota Board of Education and the Boys & Girls Club of West
Chester/Liberty, please view these FrequentlyAsked Questions.