Kettering schools offices will leave their historic 1929 building for a new home near Fraze Pavilion

Kettering schools will move its administrative offices out of the historic Barnes building on Far Hills Avenue and into space near Fraze Pavilion by next year, a move officials say will allow money to be used on other needs instead of building renovations.

School officials have approved the 10-year lease for the spaces in the 500 building and 580 building in Lincoln Park that will involve the relocation of central offices, central enrollment and food service. The leases will cost $480,000 per year.

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Ken Lackey, director of business services for the district, said a study by an outside firm estimated that $17.5 million would be needed to renovate the Barnes building, which was constructed in 1929.

“Right now, there is only air conditioning in 20 percent of the building and there are other major upgrades needed,” Lackey said.

Instead of putting that money into the Barnes building, officials said they could use the funds on a wish list of projects established after the passage of a 2016 levy. Those include an addition at the high school to house more career tech programs, building additional classrooms and auditoriums at secondary schools, and all-day kindergarten programming.

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“We felt that if we invested the $17.5 million in renovating the Barnes building, then we would not have the ability to complete the other projects we wanted to get done following the passage of the 2016 levy,” he said.

Kari Basson, coordinator of Community Relations and Auxiliary Services for Kettering schools, said plans for the Barnes building’s future are not set. Alternative school programs are also housed in the building.

“I do know that we will have limited central office administrators who will remain here in the building as long as we have students in the programs here,” she said. “We anticipate this will be for at least the 2018-19 school year. Once the decision is made as to where this student programming will be relocated, we will make a final decision on the Barnes building.”

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Healthcare Trust of America will be the district’s landlord in the new space, and Lackey said that the cost of any upgrades needed to the two buildings are built into the lease.

“We are just dealing with moving expenses, and we are not buying any new furniture or things like that so any cost to get set up dealing with things in the building like electrical or plumbing, are built in to the lease,” he said. “One of the buildings has 15,000 square feet and the other one has 8,400. We liked the location in Lincoln Park because it is centrally located and convenient to get to.”

The move into the new office space should be completed by the beginning of the next school year, officials said.

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