Aerial view of Dayton Public Schools administration buildings along South Ludlow Street

Dayton again delays schools headquarters move; current building will be ‘shuttered’

District leaders say current building too expensive, too big for needs now.

Dayton Public Schools’ plan to move its central offices to a different DPS-owned complex across Ludlow Street continues to see delays, with the move now expected to occur this spring.

“This could change, but we anticipate that we’ll start moving some areas in March,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said. “It will be March, April, May, and fully there we hope by June.”

The district bought its existing headquarters — the former Reynolds and Reynolds office complex at 115 S. Ludlow St. — in 2003 for $15.5 million and said then it would save money.

Today, the Montgomery County Auditor values the site at $5.75 million, and district leaders say the current two-building headquarters is too large for existing staff and too expensive to maintain.

HISTORY: How did DPS get to this point on underused buildings?

District officials first decided to make the move as part of a school closing review early this year.

The original plan was to move staff to the buildings at 124-136 S. Ludlow St. by Aug. 1, but that was quickly changed to a possible move over Christmas break, and now has been pushed back again.

The school board recently approved a $194,000 purchase requisition for renovation of the new headquarters space, which is referred to as Ludlow II and looks like three varying-height attached buildings from the street. The contract with Pinnacle Architects is to “provide architectural and engineering design services for the renovation,” according to district documents.

EARLIER: DPS discusses changing needs for downtown headquarters

This summer, the board approved two other contracts for the Ludlow II complex — $86,500 for exterior painting and refinishing, plus a broader asphalt/concrete contract that included some work at Ludlow II.

When Dayton Public Schools bought the existing headquarters from Reynolds & Reynolds 15 years ago, officials said it would consolidate administrative offices there, resulting in cost savings. But by June 2008, then-DPS Superintendent Percy Mack was already suggesting the district should lease out one of the two connected Ludlow buildings, saying the district could fit its administrative staff in the other.

Lolli said DPS is still paying off a significant debt from the 2003 purchase of the building, and associate superintendent Shelia Burton said the complex has more than $1 million in deferred maintenance needs.

RELATED: Dayton schools spend $3.3M on security camera upgrades

“This building will be shuttered,” Lolli said of the existing headquarters, which also hosts school board meetings. “It can be one of the pieces that’s up for sale. It can be one of the pieces that’s just shuttered for awhile until something happens.”

DPS officials said earlier this year that they were in contact with city of Dayton development officials about options for unused DPS properties. The DPS buildings on Ludlow Street are less than a block from Dayton’s Arcade complex, which is the subject of a $90 million redevelopment proposal.

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