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Dayton schools delay plan to move downtown headquarters

Dayton Public Schools’ plan to move its central offices to a new building across Ludlow Street this summer has been delayed, with the move possibly now occurring over Christmas break.

District officials favored the move because they said the current facilities are too large for the staff there and too expensive to maintain. The delay in moving was announced this week.

“If everybody can go at Christmas break, it’ll be at Christmas break,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said this week. “If they can’t, it will be later. I want to take us together, not in separate pockets. I want the moves within two weeks of each other, not six months (apart).”

RELATED: School board discusses cost of headquarters move

In addition to housing the school board meeting room and executive offices, the headquarters building at 115 S. Ludlow St. is home to departments frequently used by parents, such as the enrollment center, and used by staff, such as the human resources office.

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As part of the larger facilities plan that Lolli and the school board agreed on this spring, the large headquarters building would close, and central offices would move to the complex of vacant DPS-owned buildings at 124-136 Ludlow St. across the street.

District officials cited high costs to operate the sparsely populated headquarters building, as well as more than $1 million in deferred maintenance needed at that site, which was bought from Reynolds & Reynolds in 2003 for $15.5 million. The large DPS complex, including its parking lot, takes up most of a city block, catty-corner to the Arcade complex that is slated for redevelopment.

RELATED: DPS approves closure of schools, headquarters building

The DPS-owned buildings across the street on the east side of Ludlow are smaller and would be cheaper to operate, according to Associate Superintendent Shelia Burton.

The original goal was to move by Aug. 1, but that was delayed as bids and price quotes to prepare the new building came in. And school board member Sheila Taylor asked the district to take a closer look at those costs.

“We’ve caught up now to making sure that we have all of the bids and all of the quotes in,” Lolli said. “That will be on the board agenda … at a special meeting that’s going to occur at the end of this month.”

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The school board already approved two contracts for the new buildings — exterior painting and refinishing for $86,500, plus some asphalt/concrete work as part of a larger districtwide contract.

Lolli has said the new building also needs painting and carpet work, realignment of modular/cubicle furniture, and some heating-ventilation-air conditioning work — but not as severe as the need at the existing headquarters.

“We could move in phases, but I don’t want to do that,” Lolli said. “One of the things that we’re trying to do is build camaraderie. We’re trying to build a collegial team in the central office with all departments connecting to each other, as opposed to being isolated entities. I don’t want some of us (across the street) and some of us over here.”

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