VANDALIA – The Vandalia-Butler Board of Education approved an agreement with the Dayton Metro Library that will transform the district’s campus along Dixie Drive but leaves some unanswered questions.
The approval of the agreement was one of several items on a crowded agenda Tuesday night.
What is known is that a new Vandalia branch library will be constructed on the north end of the current Butler High School/Board of Education campus beginning this fall. Construction of the facility is expected to take about a year and will result in the demolition of the current Board offices.
Where the district’s administration will wind up is still an open question according to Superintendent Bradley Neavin. One option would be to move the Board offices into the current library structure.
“Now that this is approved, we will get experts in to look at the structural side, the roof, etc. and the mechanicals of the building,” said Neavin. “At some point in time, we will need to replace the mechanical parts of the building. Whether that’s right away or down the road is still to be determined.”
Neavin said that the current Board office is in need of major repairs or replacement already.
“I’ve told the Board that at the end of the (library) project, we still have a building where we are going to have to do something with all the systems,” said Neavin. “We would still have an old building that is structurally not sound.”
Board member George Moorman was the lone dissenting voice on the library agreement and expressed concern that the district wasn’t getting a fair exchange for the building it was giving up.
“I’m all for having the library on our campus,” said Moorman. “It is going to be a beautiful library and great for our kids. My job is to look out for the majority of the community and I still see a cost to the schools for this project.
Moorman cited the renovation costs of the new library as one such cost.
“There’s a value to that property, and there is the cost for the construction of new Board offices,” said Moorman. “I think we are giving up more than we are giving back.”
Under the terms of the agreement between the district and the Library, the district will deed the land for the construction of the library branch. However, if the branch would ever cease to be a library, the property would revert back to the district “in good condition at the time of reversion, subject only to reasonable wear and tear.”
Neavin said that all options are on the table, including moving into a section of Butler High School.
“No decision has been made as to where the Board offices will relocate,” he said. “All options are on the table. We made this recommendation because it is a great move for the district. We are going to get a better facility and, key to us, they will be tearing down that old building which means they assume all the abatement and liability costs of that.”
Neavin said the project is a win-win for the community and the district.
“Very clearly this is additional learning space for us,” he said. “They (the Library) are doing things the right way by engaging the local community and its stakeholders. We have been involved in the conversations. That library will be a place for our students to go and study, do research, and do the things we want our students to be engaged in.”