The Franklin City Schools have cleared out its central administrative offices and crews have already started the asbestos abatement process prior to the planned demolition of the Hampton Bennett Building.
The property located at 150 E. Sixth St. is scheduled to be demolished to become the parking lot for the new Franklin High School building which is under construction and is slated to open in January 2024. Superintendent Michael Sander said the building demolition could begin as early as next week.
Sander said the district’s central office has moved to the current high school building at 750 E. Fourth St. and that board meetings are being held in the high school cafeteria until the new high school opens.
“Work is scheduled to be completed by mid-August,” Sander said.
The Hampton Bennett building opened in 1954 as an elementary building for fifth grade students before evolving as a middle and junior high school, said Liz Buchanan, a member of the class of 1958.
She remembers being a high school student aide and helping to take attendance of students at the Hampton Bennett building.
At that time, students in grades 7-12 were in the former Franklin High School at 136 E. Sixth St. until 1969 when the current Franklin High School was built at 750 E. Fourth St. That building became the home for grades 10-12. Ninth grade students later moved to the high school building in fall 1982. The old high school was converted into a junior high school, according to school officials and alumni.
The former junior high school, which operated for a century was demolished in 2021 to make way for the new high school now under construction.
The building was named after Hampton Bennett, a resident of Carlisle, a farmer, and a Civil War veteran, who became principal in 1866, according to the local history book, “Franklin in the Great Miami Valley,” first published in 1982.
Bennett served as principal or superintendent until 1994 and had two goals, a graded system for elementary students and the organization of a four-year high school, according to the local history book. During Bennett’s tenure, four girls were first graduates of Franklin High School, according to the history book.
Franklin school officials said after the new high school is completed, the building on East Fourth Street will be renovated to become the new junior high school.
The district’s next construction phase will be building three new elementary schools in addition to the city of Franklin building a new roundabout on East Sixth Street/Ohio 123 to facilitate traffic into the new high school parking lot and Community Park.