Franklin schools purchase additional land around new high school campus

Franklin City School District recently completed the purchase of land adjacent to its new high school campus as it looks to the future.

The school district has spent $1.6 million over the past few months to purchase five parcels of land along East Sixth, Anderson and East Seventh streets. Those specific parcels include the Save-a-Lot market property on East Sixth Street and an adjacent empty lot, 614 Anderson St., 618 Anderson St., and 103 E. Seventh St.

Superintendent Michael Sander said the district is excited for the opportunity to create a cohesive high school campus as well as plan for the future. He said the district is proud to be a part of the continued development and growth throughout the community.

“Buying land gives us room to grow if the district’s anticipated enrollment increase requires us to expand. For now, we’ll clear the properties and use the space as practice fields,” Sander said.

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

Credit: Jeremy P. Kelley

“The district used permanent improvement funds for the property purchases,” Sander said.

He said the Board of Education wants to assure the public that no bond issue monies or general fund monies were used to purchase the land.

“As we promised voters, all of the bond issue funds are dedicated to constructing the new high school, renovating the current high school into a middle school, and building the new bus garage,” he said.

The district closed on the lot next to the district’s bus garage and the Save-a-Lot property in August and two other properties on Anderson and East Seventh streets in October. Sander said no action will be taken on those properties as the current leases on the residential and commercial properties run through June 30, 2022.

There is fencing already erected around the former Franklin Junior High School and asbestos abatement procedures are nearly completed. Sander said demolition of the building is scheduled to begin on Wednesday and is expected to be completely down by the second week of January 2022.

The current Franklin Junior High Building opened in 1921 as the East Building and housed both junior and senior high students. District officials said additions were made in 1932, 1948, and 1952. In 1969, the current high school opened on East Fourth Street, and students in grades 10 through 12 moved to that campus. Ninth grade classes began attending the current high school building in the fall of 1982.

Sander said bricks from the front of the former junior high school building will be set aside for residents and alumni to pick up during the demolition process. He said the bricks will be piled up in front of the bus garage.

Once the new high school is completed, the building on East Fourth Street will be renovated and become the new middle school. The new high school is expected to open in fall 2023 with the middle school opening in fall 2025. The three new elementary schools will be constructed at the current Gerke, Schenck and Hunter sites.

The multi-year, $130 million total replacement/renovation of the district’s facilities is made possible by the bond issue passed by district voters in November 2020. The state of Ohio will pay 57% of the cost of the new classroom buildings through the Expedited Local Partnership Program.

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