DPS completes central office move to historic complex

Contractors work on the front doors of the new Dayton Public Schools headquarters complex at 136 S. Ludlow St. on June 16, 2021. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
Contractors work on the front doors of the new Dayton Public Schools headquarters complex at 136 S. Ludlow St. on June 16, 2021. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Dayton Public Schools’ long-delayed headquarters move is finally wrapping up, with most central office staff now in their new locations at 136 S. Ludlow St., across the street from the building DPS used for over 15 years.

School district officials have said recently that the former Reynolds & Reynolds complex at 115 S. Ludlow was too big and needed significant HVAC, water and elevator work, among other fixes.

ExplorePHOTOS: See inside DPS' new offices in historic complex

The district spent more than $3 million over three years on renovations to the three-building complex at 136 Ludlow, which was also part of DPS’ 2003 purchase of Reynolds’ properties. As part of the Dayton Terra-Cotta Historic District, the new headquarters buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Free visitor parking remains available in the existing parking lot behind 115 S. Ludlow St., and all DPS department phone numbers remain the same. Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said this week that her office and the treasurer’s office are the last of 124 employees that will make the move.

“We anticipate the first (use of) the board room over there will be our retreat on July 17,” Lolli said. “If everything goes well, the July (school board) meetings would be over there, both review session July 20 and business meeting July 27.”

The new office space is approximately 70,500 square feet, compared to 150,000 at the previous complex. Besides top administration, the building will house departments of curriculum, special education, safety and security, cultural engagement and others. The student enrollment office, where families can come to register their children, is up and running in the new building.

A fine and performing arts training room in the new Dayton Public Schools headquarters complex at 136 S. Ludlow St. contains instruments and resources for staff. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF
A fine and performing arts training room in the new Dayton Public Schools headquarters complex at 136 S. Ludlow St. contains instruments and resources for staff. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Explore2018 story: History of DPS and its many buildings

The large community room at 115 Ludlow will still be used for some larger meetings. School board President Mohamed Al-Hamdani said DPS is still weighing options on what to do with that property, which was purchased for $15.5 million in 2003.

In April, district officials said they still owe $9.4 million on the old complex, with the actual value of the complex less than half that.

DPS hiring / staffing news

** Lolli said DPS is making progress toward putting two teachers in most early-grade classrooms this fall, in an effort to close achievement gaps early. The district is using some of its $130 million in available federal relief funds for this purpose.

“We’re going to try to have (two teachers) in every first- and second-grade class for sure,” Lolli said. “Some schools may have third grade filled (too), but we’re really focused on first and second.”

ExploreHow are DPS, others planning to spend federal windfall?

DPS Chief of Human Resources David Harmon said among traditional teaching positions — those not paid by the new federal funding — the district is down from 66 openings last month to 51 this week. He said those numbers will continue to fluctuate, as more resignations come in, while dozens of potential new staff go through an on-boarding process.

** The school board this week hired Sherry Gale as the district’s director of college credit plus, college readiness and scholarships. Gale spent 12 years as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church before moving to Church of the Cross in Kettering last year. Gale has her Ph.D in mathematics, and Lolli said she has worked as a university professor.

“Because of her connections with the community and with kids and connections with Dayton Public and with previous university work, she’ll be a great fit for college credit plus and scholarship work,” Lolli said.

** The top spot in the district’s Office for Exceptional Children (gifted and special education) remains vacant in the wake of Angela Nichols’ departure and a critical report from the state. Laura Collier, who just led a one-year revamp of DPS’ special education procedures, has left the district, and the school board on Tuesday named Tonya Ray as OEC executive director (the No. 2 spot in the department).

ExploreState cites multiple special education violations at DPS