Dayton to demolish two former schools; headquarters move in works

Two more of Dayton’s older, closed school buildings will be demolished, and Dayton Public Schools continues to make incremental progress toward moving its headquarters across Ludlow Street.

The school board this week approved a resolution to demolish the former Valerie Elementary at 4020 Bradwood Drive (near Philadelphia and Turner), as well as the former U.S. Grant Elementary at 4309 Arcadia Boulevard (off South Smithville).

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The Valerie building, constructed in 1966, closed in the summer of 2018 when the district said several other West Dayton schools were under-enrolled.

Valerie was closed in part because it was the only older school in the area, as the others were constructed in the district’s 2004-2012 building boom. Many of Valerie’s students were moved to the Meadowdale Elementary building less than a mile to the west, and that school has now been renamed Valerie.

Grant was built in 1936 and closed as a DPS school before 2000, serving since then as district storage space and as a Montgomery County education facility. During the construction boom, it was temporarily reopened as a DPS school a few times while other schools were under construction. To this day, the building has an “Orville Wright at Grant” sign on it from 2010.

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“We’ll have to go out for a request for proposals, for companies to bid on (demolition) and give us pricing,” DPS Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said. “Hopefully we’d get that done by the end of the year.”

For years, the school district has been trying to shed some of its unused buildings and land to reduce maintenance costs.

After Valerie and Grant are demolished, the district will still have school buildings standing at the sites of the former Longfellow (245 Salem Ave.), Gardendale (1733 N. Gettysburg Ave.) and Jackson Center (329 Abbey Ave.) schools.

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The district also owns numerous vacant lots where demolished school buildings once stood. Earlier this year, they were able to sell the former Colonel White and Carlson school sites, but many others have gone untouched at auctions.

Headquarters move

Work continues on the Ludlow II complex at 124-136 Ludlow St. that will serve as DPS’ new headquarters, with Lolli saying Tuesday that most of the move will be done by the end of August. The district’s school year begins Aug. 12.

District officials have said the existing headquarters — the former Reynolds and Reynolds complex bought in 2003 — is too large for existing staff and too expensive to maintain.

EARLIER: DPS headquarters move delayed, could cost $3 million-plus

The move across the street was first scheduled for last summer, but was delayed multiple times, most recently when board members pushed back a vote on Ludlow II renovations to get more information about the process.

Those $3 million in renovations on the new multi-building complex are ongoing, including major HVAC changes, electrical and computer network updates, painting, paving and reshaping some office spaces.

Lolli said school board meetings likely will move to the new site in September or October, although meetings that are expected to draw big crowds could still be held in the larger community room at 115 S. Ludlow St.

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