3 new schools: Fairfield staffers rally before start of historic year

On the cusp of a historic school year opening, more than 800 staffers of Fairfield Schools packed into the high school Friday morning to meet, rally and celebrate.

As classrooms open Tuesday, the 10,000-student Butler County district will become one of the few in the history of Southwest Ohio school systems to simultaneously open three new schools.

ExploreRELATED STORY & VIDEO: Fairfield replaces oldest school with newest

Moreover, the school district has made sweeping changes in the grades each of its 10 schools that will affect thousands of students.

The annual school opening event in the Fairfield High School auditorium started on a rousing note as the school’s marching band stepped into the aisles and on to the stage.

Fairfield Schools Superintendent Billy Smith said that on Tuesday, 20 percent of its students will be walking into a new building.

“How cool is that?” he asked.

ExploreRELATED STORY & VIDEO: Take the first tour of the new Fairfield Freshman School

The 2017-2018 school year is “one of the most anticipated” school years in the history of Fairfield Schools, Smith told the crowd. “We are truly blessed to have a community that supports its schools as well as Fairfield and Fairfield Township supports education.”

Students will see three new schools: Central and Compass Elementary and Fairfield Freshman School.

ExploreRELATED STORY & VIDEO: A first look inside the Fairfield’s new Compass Elementary

Fairfield is the last area school district to begin the new school year as to allow for extra time to complete work on the new schools.

The schools’ openings are the culmination of years of planning and repeated attempts to win taxpayer approval to help fund the $80 million projects, which also received state financing.

Fairfield voters passed a $61 million bond issue in 2014 for construction of the schools and state funds are paying the other $19 million for the buildings.

ExploreMORE: Fairfield Schools’ construction manager retires then rehired to see work finished

It’s been a busier summer than usual for Fairfield teachers and non-teaching staffers as hundreds of them scrambled to move into the recently completed new schools. The summer break also saw the demolition of the two oldest schools: Central Elementary and the adjacent Fairfield Freshman school.

Gina Gentry-Fletcher, spokeswoman for the school system, said the opening day staff meeting is a long-standing tradition.

“It is a great way to bring our staff and community together to start off the new school year and the theme this year is ‘Best Year Ever,’ which celebrates our historic start in three new buildings and a reconfigured school system that will provide so many great opportunities for students,” said Gentry-Fletcher. “This year’s event was a huge success.”

VIDEO: See the rousing musical start to the opening school year event for Fairfield Schools’ 800 staffers @journal-news.com

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