At the January Mariemont Board of Education meeting, the Board unanimously accepted the findings from the Assessment Phase of the Mariemont High School Master Facility Plan process, approved the progression to the next phase of the process – the Solutions Options Phase, and entered into an agreement with MSA Architects as the design architect to assist the school district in developing possible solutions options.
“The selection of the design architect by no way means that any decisions have been made about the future of Mariemont High School,” said Steven Estepp, superintendent. “We will rely on the expertise of the design architect to help us get to a point where we feel educated about all of our viable options in order to make an informed decision.”
Mariemont High School was the only district school building left unaddressed by the community in 2009 during the Master Facilities Planning Process. At that time, the committee recognized there were facility needs at the high school, but the other school buildings needed to take precedence.
Approximately a year and a half ago, the district began a very public and community-based assessment process. The assessment took a concentrated look at current facility needs at the nearly 50-year-old Mariemont High School, and, in some cases, building limitations, as well as education and workforce trends. The assessment was the first step in developing the Master Facility Plan, which is an ever-evolving document that is fact based and community driven and sets the course for planning capital improvements and facility management in the near future.
The goal of the Solutions Options Phase is to develop several options for the Board to consider for inclusion in the Master Facility Plan. The timeline for the completion of this phase is June 2017. At that time, the Board is expected to hear several options that will address the building’s facility needs while keeping our school competitive into the future.
“We need to ensure our facility-related decision making is consistent with and supportive of the school district’s mission and instructional vision as well as with the expectations of our community,” stated Mike Gaburo, Mariemont Board of Education president. “I believe we are navigating this process the correct way by letting our needs dictate our possible solutions. I am grateful to all of the community and staff members who have volunteered their time in making this as thorough and dynamic a process as possible.”
Included among the solutions options will be the cost of “doing nothing” and continuing along the same path of providing upkeep and making repairs as needed. The superintendent cautioned that there is no zero cost option and that, “while the district does an excellent job taking care of our buildings, it is the aging infrastructure and what is behind the walls that is most concerning.”
“We do a great job with upkeep, but repairs are growing more costly due to the age and limitations of a 50-year-old building,” said Superintendent Steven Estepp. “In taking the time to thoroughly evaluate the state of the high school now, we are being proactive and giving ourselves time to research all options extensively. Because community input is critical to the success of this process, we will continue to involve the community in every way possible as we assess and discuss what our next steps at the high school might be.”
The community’s next opportunity to hear more will be at the district’s 7th annual State of the Schools Address on Wednesday, January 18 at 7pm at Mariemont High School. During the address, titled “Space Matters,” Superintendent Estepp will review the progress on the high school facility master plan and will discuss what the future of education. The entire community is invited to attend and is encouraged to bring their mobile devices, as audience participation will be a critical component to the event.