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Published: Tuesday, 7/15/2008

Advocates for Scott High School renovation brainstorm facility options


Supporters of the renovation of Scott High School are looking for options to save the building, despite concerns that their community has been neglected by the district for some time.

Nearly 20 people involved with the Save Our Scott campaign gathered for more than two hours last night at the Kent branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library for a discussion where tempers flared and many kept bringing up wrongs done to the Scott community in the past.

But it ended with a consensus for the community members to seek support of political leaders, get their cause into the media, and start their own fund-raising campaign with district support.

"We realize we have the same goals here and this is part of the bonding process," said Avie Dixon, a 1964 Scott graduate and one of the organizers for the community discussions. "We're identifying problems and trying to figure out what to do."

It appears TPS Superintendent John Foley and Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner are doing the same thing.

They wrote a joint letter yesterday to Michael Shoemaker, executive director of the Ohio School Facilities Commission, asking for exceptions, such as not needing to renovate all spaces and a deadline extension without penalty.

At issue is that the OSFC, which contributes 77 percent of the district's $640 million Building for Success program, requires a full renovation, but will not provide enough money to make that happen.

The OSFC is prepared to contribute about $28 million for Scott, while the full renovation could cost $40 million.

Because the OSFC needs a green light to go ahead with the final phase of the district's building program, which includes Scott and 10 other schools, the board is under a tight deadline to make a decision this month.

It appears the best option could be to proceed with a plan that calls for spending $28 million for two small schools for 600 students each, with the intent to amend it later and put the money toward Scott's renovation.

"I think it's your chance for hope, if you really want to know what I think," said Ron Victor, the district's business manager who was present for the first half of the meeting. School board member Darlene Fisher also participated in the meeting.

Scott would be reassessed by the state, which would pay the $80,000 bill, to show exactly what needs to be done for renovation - including any special considerations granted by the OSFC - and its cost.

Scott is the city's oldest public high school, welcoming its first students to the Collingwood Boulevard building in September, 1913.

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