BELPRE - No members of the public spoke up to voice their opinions about the future of the former Belpre City Schools administration building during the Belpre board of education's regular meeting Monday.
Board member Rod Hineman said the value is in the eight-tenths of an acre lot located at 2014 Washington Blvd., which has been on the market since late 2009 with no potential buyers having come forward.
"We have made an effort over the years, even had an auction where we had no bids," he said.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Belpre City Schools District Board of Education member Fred Meredith discusses the fate of the former administration building on Washington Boulevard during Monday’s meeting.
The idea to demolish the building was put before the community during the February board meeting by member Mike Wile. He said the buildings and grounds committee, of which he is a member, is considering if razing the structure could sell the property located next to the Belpre Public Library.
The board was looking for public input as to whether the community would object to tearing down the structure. All board members said they had spoken to members of the public, many had no opinion as to what to do with the building.
"I had a couple of inquiries," said board member Leonard Wiggins. "Someone asked about using it for classrooms for the emergency medical services/firefighter field."
This possibly interested person said the building would not need to be handicap accessible and is interested in a lease-to-buy situation. The board itself has not been approached about this possibility.
"The people I spoke with did not have any sentimental or intrinsic value for the property," Wile said.
Former board member Larry Block said he contacted 100 people and 68 of them said they did not care what happened to the building.
"I think the turnout tonight says it all," Block said.
In other business, the board approved allowing the Belpre Elementary School kindergarten program to apply for a one-time grant through the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley to expand its jump start program for incoming kindergarteners who need extra help.
Kindergarten teacher Amber Place said the $7,500 grant will allow the program to grow from two weeks to four weeks to help the students who need extra support before class begins.
"The program focuses on the kids who need a little more help and get into a structured environment they didn't get to have before school," Place said. "We teach basic reading skills and colors and shapes through fun activities."
If awarded, the grant will provide funds for two teachers, classroom aids and helpers as well as other aid.
Belpre Area Ministries will provide snacks, student materials and everything needed to start kindergarten as well as construction paper and other items.
The program aids about 20 students per year.
The board recognized 18 students for their achievements in the TEAMS science and engineering competition at Ohio University in February.
The students - Todd Packard, Ryan Lynn, John McDonald, Cotton Parsons, Thomas Fankhouse, Frank Houser, Ryan Epperly, Brennen Farrell, Dallas Hickman, Delvin Daniel, Jacob Buskisk, Kyle Windland, Ian Johnson, Jackie Cunningham, Alex Perry, Mike Dillon, Ethan Wiggers and Allyson Barber - won awards for their participation, said Belpre High School science teacher Dan Woodman.
The 11th and 12th grade team finished fourth out of 10 teams.
"The point-spread between first and fourth place was only three points," Woodman said. "If we had earned two more points out of a total 80 points, we would have tied for first place."
The ninth and 10th grade team placed third.