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Published: Wednesday, 3/23/2005

Gorham Fayette district gets school site option

FAYETTE, Ohio - Gorham Fayette school board members have approved an option to buy about 60 acres as a possible site for a new school to house all district students.

The land, owned by Greg and Sue Armstrong, is just south of the Fayette village limits, along Fulton County Road R east of State Rt. 66, Superintendent Dave Hankins said yesterday.

Buying the land at $4,000 per acre would be contingent on the availability of funds, he said. A special school board meeting may be scheduled to discuss a possible bond issue on the ballot this year, Mr. Hankins said.

Last year, the Ohio School Facilities Commission approved giving Gorham Fayette $11.2 million for a new school if the district could raise $3.3 million locally by today. The state funding is no longer available, Mr. Hankins said, but if voters approve the local funding, school officials would talk to the commission about state money for the building project. Plans call for a building that would replace Franklin Elementary in the community of Zone and the Fayette building, which now houses elementary, junior, and senior high students.

District officials have been looking into plans to abandon the Fayette building because of concerns about cancer-causing contamination from a former automotive parts plant near the school.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency monitors the building. At issue is groundwater contamination from a compound called trichloroethylene that was used as a degreaser in the plant.

The school board is suing D.H. Holdings Corp., the company responsible for the factory site, contending that contamination from the former Fayette Tubular Products Inc. poses long-term health risks at the school. The board wants D.H. Holdings to pay $3.3 million plus unspecified expenses involved with building and moving into a new school. The lawsuit is pending.

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