Here are the big things happening with Hamilton schools in 2018

Brian Pendergest, Principal of Badin High School, speaks during a State of the Schools event Thursday, Jan. 18 at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Brian Pendergest, Principal of Badin High School, speaks during a State of the Schools event Thursday, Jan. 18 at Courtyard by Marriott in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The state of education in Hamilton-area schools is strong and getting stronger, local public and private school officials said Thursday.

The annual State of Hamilton Schools event at the Courtyard Marriott in the Butler County city is a pep rally of sorts for school officials, business and community organization leaders.

And this year there was plenty to be cheery about.

Badin High School, which is the only Catholic high school in the county, put forward news of its first expansion of its campus since 2006.

The coming summer will see the launching of a $1.8 million construction project that will add a “student development center” to its West Hamilton campus, Badin Principal Brian Pendergest said.

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“We are excited to expand our building to better serve our students,” he told the crowd of more than 200 enjoying lunch at the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Rotary Club sponsored event.

Badin has grown from a 449-student enrollment in 2009 to 575 students this school year. Officials anticipate more than 600 students at the school for the 2018-19 school year.

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The additional 8,000-square-foot building “will allow us to regain two classrooms that are being used for office space,” Pendergest said.

Jon Graft, superintendent of Butler Tech, showed off the career school system’s recently unveiled logo and said there will be a new campus for the growing district, which is now one of the largest in Ohio.

“Adult education is growing … and we are investing $3 million for 23 classrooms at (former) Americana Amusement Park. That campus of 27 acres will be opened in August 2018,” Graft said.

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“We are in transformative times, and Butler Tech wants to be a part of them,” said Graft of the new campus expansion in Monroe.

He also said Butler Tech plans to add a second floor – scheduled to open in 2019 — to the Bioscience Center in West Chester Twp. and is actively seeking developers to add more buildings to the campus overlooking the Interstate 75 and Cincinnati-Dayton Road interchange.

Hamilton Schools leader Tony Orr touted the 10,000-student district’s continued academic improvement.

“Our focus is on quantitative data that allows us to improve student performance, (and) our data clearly supports that we are improving significantly,” Orr said, citing the most recent measurements required annually by state education officials.

“We are proud of our recent academic accomplishments, improving in an incredible 18 out of 23 tested areas, some by more than 10 percent,” he said.

And Cathy Bishop-Clark, Interim Dean at Miami Regionals — which includes both the Miami University Hamilton and Miami University Middletown campuses and the Miami Learning Center in West Chester — summed up both her school’s stance and those of many at the event.

“This is a community that is moving in the same direction and the right direction,” she said.

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