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Kettering schools to expand Fairmont HS, two elementary schools

The Kettering school district plans more major construction projects in the next 18 months — adding a building at Fairmont High School, plus expanding two elementary schools, administrators said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The high school expansion will be built on the current field hockey field, near the northwest corner of the high school, and will house three programs, including a new career tech cosmetology program, according to Ken Lackey, the district’s director of business services.

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Fairmont’s existing construction trades program will move into a much larger space in that new building, and Kettering’s “alternative program,” for students who may need extra time transitioning to high school, will move there from the 90-year-old Barnes building on Far Hills Avenue.

Eventually, the old construction trades space will be converted so the medical assisting career tech program can take it over. Lackey said the new building is still being designed, with construction slated to start in May and the new programs beginning in August 2020.

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“The expansion of the career tech programs is designed to allow more students to gain more skills where they can get employed right out of high school,” Lackey said.

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Kettering plans to launch all-day kindergarten in fall 2019, and Lackey said it will be a tight fit in some schools the first year. The district plans to break ground this summer on two elementary school expansions to relieve some of the classroom space problems by fall 2020.

Southdale Elementary on West Dorothy Lane definitely will be expanded, likely adding onto the back of the existing east building, according to Lackey. The other elementary school expansion will happen either at Orchard Park — attached to the gym of the East Dorothy Lane school — or at Oakview — attached to the kindergarten building of the school at Stroop and Ackerman roads.

That decision is expected in January. Depending on which elementary school gets the second expansion, some special education programs could be moved between those two schools.

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Funding for the buildings themselves comes from a 3.4-mill permanent improvement levy that voters approved in 2016. Funding to pay the staff who will run new kindergarten and career tech programs will come from a 5.99-mill operating levy that voters approved in November.

“It’s amazing if you think of all the (projects) that have happened since 2016,” Kettering Superintendent Scott Inskeep said. “We’re talking 30 months, and that’s aggressive. All the programs that we promised we would do will be coming forward for our students.”

  • The new Fairmont High school auditorium, which has been under construction for more than a year, is scheduled to be completed by Feb. 1, according to Lackey. The grand opening performance is scheduled for March 9.

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  • Lackey said the move of Kettering schools’ administrative offices from the Barnes building to an office complex on Lincoln Park Boulevard likely will happen in phases. Lackey said some offices could move this spring, more over the summer, and a few offices might stay in the Barnes building through the 2019-20 school year.
  • Kettering schools also plans to purchase a door barricade system for all classroom doors in the district. Lackey said some of the cost may be covered by a state grant. The goal is to have the systems in place next fall.

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