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Trustees to purchase Warren Schools properties

Photo by Michele Newbanks Kendra Hoyt, 13, of Little Hocking, rides her bike around the parking lot of the former Little Hocking Elementary School. The Warren Local Schools Board of Education recently approved the sale of the property to the Belpre Township Trustees.

The purchase of two Warren Local elementary school properties will be finalized once the construction of the new Warren Elementary School is complete.

At the last Warren Local Board of Education meeting, resolutions were approved for the sale of Warren Elementary to Warren Township trustees and Little Hocking Elementary to Belpre Township trustees.

Melcie Wells, Warren Local Schools treasurer, said the first step to selling the properties was the resolution approvals for the sales. Part of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project included the abatement and demolition of the two elementaries so that will be taken care of by the district.

Superintendent Kyle Newton said a formal acknowledgment of the sale of the properties was sent to the two townships after the approval of the resolutions. He said they weren’t allowed to give the properties away, so they were sold for $1 each.

“Getting $1 is a nice, easy way to get things done,” he explained.

He said the OFCC won’t allow contracts for the demolition of the schools until the new Warren Elementary is finished and occupied.

“We can’t even go out to bid until the building is occupied,” Newton added.

The original timeline for demolition was August, but now they won’t be able to out for bid until late September. The bid will be out for 30 days, then demolition will be done in late October or early November. Once the schools are demolished, the townships can take possession of the properties.

Plans are already being made by township trustees for property usage.

“We intend to leave it for the kids to have ball fields,” said Belpre Township Trustee Asa Boring of the Little Hocking site. “We’re going to use it for a community sports complex. It won’t be a big one, but the kids will be able to use the ball fields.”

He said during normal summers, kids are playing ball almost every evening. They will still need a place to play once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

“The school will be demolished and it will be dirt and seeded,” Boring said. “The ball fields just need some attention, but we’ll work together on them.”

There are also long-term plans for the former Warren Elementary property.

“The tentative plans are we were thinking about possibly building a fire house and keeping the ball fields for community use,” said Jeff Knowlton, Warren Township trustee.

The fire department would use one of the facilities for equipment storage, he added.

“A lot of things would have to transpire before that,” he said, noting they would need to raise money for a new facility first.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

What’s next:

• Resolutions of approval to sell Little Hocking Elementary and Warren Elementary schools properties were signed at last Warren Local Board of Education meeting.

• Once construction of the new Warren Elementary School is finished and it is occupied, the demolition project will go out for bid in late September.

•The bid will be out for 30 days.

• Demolition of elementary schools will occur in late October or early November.

• Once demolition is finished, property will be transferred to townships.

Source: Warren Local school district.

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