A fixture of the downtown Hamilton arts scene is moving out.
The Journal-News has exclusively learned the 200 high school students at the Butler Tech School Of Arts will be shifted back to Butler Tech’s main campus in Fairfield Twp. starting in the 2018-2019 school year.
“Because of the incredible success and interest in our arts programs, we have outgrown our current location in downtown Hamilton,” Jon Graft, superintendent of Butler Tech, said of the leased office space.
“It (the downtown Hamilton location) has served us well for many years, but we do not want limitations of the space to impact the quality of the education we offer,” said Graft.
The Butler Tech School Of Arts has taught students in Hamilton’s central business district since 2004 when the school was housed in the Fitton Center For Creative Arts.
In 2012, the career-education arts school needed more space so the program was moved to the former Journal-News building at 228 Court St.
Space at Butler Tech’s main Dee Russel Lee campus will be freed when the career teach school moves its much of its adult education program to a new Monroe campus now being developed on a portion of the former Americana Amusement Park site.
Butler Tech purchased the 36 acres for $2.75 million in February.
“We recognize that our students pursuing the arts have unique needs. It is extremely important to us that we provide them with their own space where they can explore their talents and flourish,” said Graft.
“For our seniors, there will be no change with the move. They will finish their senior year in the same building. For our juniors, this brings a unique opportunity for them to help design how their senior year space will look and feel. And the dedicated space on the main campus will allow us to invest in significant upgrades to our arts programming,” said Graft.
Michael Beauchat, spokesman for Butler Tech, said the move in 2018 does not signal an abandonment of the city’s expanding arts efforts.
“While are leaving Hamilton, our intent is to remain an active part of the Hamilton arts community,” said Beauchat.
Butler Tech is one of Ohio’s largest career school systems, serving high school students from 10 districts in Butler County and northern Hamilton County and thousands of adult-education students.
Among the advantages for Tech’s students will be the elimination of bus transfers many students now must make to get to and from the downtown school.
Other benefits, said Butler Tech officials, include: a larger theatre space for performances; more classroom space for college credit plus and academic courses; larger rehearsal and gallery space; improved dance instruction space and room for future growth of the arts program.
“We will be reaching out to students and families in the near future to arrange a tour of the new School of the Arts space. We are confident that once you see the opportunities it offers, you will be as excited as we are about the possibilities,” said Graft.