Lakota resumes plans that may lead to new school buildings, renovations

The societal closings forced by COVID-19′s onset almost two years ago also slowed Butler County’s largest school system and its plans to study the future school building needs for thousands of students.

But recently Lakota school officials, who oversee southwest Ohio’s biggest suburban district, announced they are now moving forward with plans that may eventually lead to building some new schools along with renovating some older learning spaces.

Lakota officials have insisted in recent years, no decisions have been made regarding a final plan to upgrade its 24 school buildings, but this week they said it’s time to begin moving forward on what could be a sweeping facilities plan.

The coming facility proposals could impact Lakota students, school families and all residents in the district for decades to come.

And those living in Ohio’s ninth most populous school system – 17,000 students - will be a big part of decision-making process, school officials said.

“A master facilities plan is a strategic look at facilities and educational delivery models that will impact the district for the next 20, 30, 40 years or more,” said Lakota’s Chief Operations Officer Chris Passarge.

“These plans involve broad community participation and provide a blueprint for the community for plans the district may execute into the future,” Passarge noted in a released statement.

No timetable has been publicly released by Lakota regarding the coming planning and implementation process.

Work on the facilities plans has been paused twice since it began in 2019.

First because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its onset in March 2020 and then again last spring due to expiring board terms for two committee members. The district decided to hold any further work until the new board was in place.

Earlier this month at the first Lakota Board of Education meeting - since the election of two new board members from the November election - it was announced that all five board members will now be a part of the master facilities plan board committee, a change from the previous practice of the former board.

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Board President Lynda O’Connor said the public’s input in the process will be key.

“This is a very important decision that will require a vast amount of our resources,” said O’Connor. “We are looking forward to gathering feedback from our community. It is imperative that they have a voice in this process,” said O’Connor.

“We plan to create several opportunities for our community members to weigh in as we continue to build the future of education for our students,” she said.

For more information go to Lakota’s website.

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