Dayton ‘drop-out recovery’ school wants to relocate to Wayne Avenue

Liberty High School, currently on the far northeast edge of downtown, eyes property near Wayne and Wyoming

A nontraditional charter high school in Dayton that says it specializes in preventing young people from dropping out wants to relocate to a new building on city-owned property.

Dayton this week had the first reading of an ordinance that would authorize the sale of a 1.4-acre property at 1434 Wayne Ave. to Akron-based Oakmont Education, which operates Liberty High School.

The high school, currently at 140 N. Keowee St. near Monument Avenue, says it serves students between the ages of 16 and 21 who have been failed by traditional schools.

Liberty High School says it offers flexible school hours, individualized learning plans and other kinds of supports.

Oakmont Education wants to construct a new 18,000-square-foot facility to serve its roughly 300 students who are learning the construction trades, according to a memo from Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning, neighborhoods and development.

Oakmont Education, which has offered $100,000 for the property, hopes to have the school open for the beginning of the 2024 year, the memo states.

The city acquired the Wayne Avenue property, just north of the intersection of Wayne and Wyoming, in the late 2000s for a redevelopment project that did not work out, Kinskey’s memo states.

Dayton worked for years to secure properties to try to help Kroeger build a larger grocery store on Wayne Avenue, just a block north of its current store.

But the company announced in late 2008 that it was cancelling its plans even though the city had arranged options to buy more than 80 parcels in support of the project.

The new Liberty High School project would require approvals by the city’s zoning board and Landmarks Commission.

“This is at the front-end of the process,” said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “The property will not be conveyed until those processes are done.”

The school is currently in an old warehouse, and the new proposed building would be more suitable and specifically designed for learning and teaching building trades, she said.

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