Classes relocate over winter break

Lebanon moves two schools, four grades in midyear.

Contact this contributing writer at lisa.knodel@gmail.com.

Hundreds of Lebanon students and staff returned to different schools after winter break.

During the two week break in December and January, the seventh and eighth grades were moved to the brand new Lebanon Junior High School, while the fifth and sixth grades were temporarily relocated from Berry Intermediate School to the old junior high.

“The district is in the midst of completing an Ohio Facilities Construction Commission building project that includes renovations to all school buildings and the construction of a new Lebanon Junior High School. The renovations to Lebanon High School, Bowman Primary and Donovan Elementary are completed. The new junior high school is completed. The renovation to Berry Intermediate School begins this month,” said Superintendent Todd Yohey.

Bowman Primary School was expanded from a first- and second-grade building to a preschool through second grade building; an addition and renovations were completed at Donovan Elementary School for the district’s third- and fourth-grade students; and several classrooms were added to Lebanon High School.

Highlights of the new Lebanon Junior High include a two-story student research center, an outdoor courtyard, a 60-student multi-use studio, a multipurpose gymnasium and cafeteria with stage. Each classroom is outfitted with a sound system and smart projectors to enhance student instruction. Two Lebanon alumni also provided artwork.

Renovations at Berry include new heating, lighting, technology, flooring, ceilings, furniture and air conditioning. The industrial arts area will be demolished, and a 1,500-square-foot addition will be built. Work is expected to be complete for the 2018-19 school year.

“The renovation of Berry is the last major step in the bond issue,” Yohey said. “We will be demolishing the former Louisa Wright building this summer and the Holbrook building at the completion of the project. District offices will be moved to the old junior high.”

Making a midyear move required significant collaboration between LJH Principal Brian Dalton and BIS Principal Beth Kletzly. They created detailed schedules for packing, and teachers boxed up materials as they finished units of study. The media centers and computer labs moved before winter break. The Berry staff and students also toured the old junior high prior to the move.

“It was a lengthy process and took significant time to complete on the part of our teachers, custodians and cooks. The technology and maintenance department were extremely supportive during the move process,” Dalton said. “We were fortunate that the moving company (Planes Moving and Storage) was very efficient and teachers were prepared. As a result, the junior high move was completed on the day it was supposed to begin.”

Dalton said students and staff are enjoying the new space.

“The building is beautiful and spacious. Students are able to move from class to class more freely and without congestion in the hallways. Teachers are enjoying the new technology the classrooms offer, and the office staff is thankful for the additional space,” he explained.

Berry staff and students are well settled, even though they know the space is temporary.

“I asked a few students what they thought; responses varied from, ‘I love it’ to ‘I really miss Berry,’ ” Kletzly said. “I do think many staff and students miss Berry already but realize that what is to come will be an amazing gift.”

Yohey said the new and renovated schools will help enhance education across the district for years to come.

“The Lebanon community has made a significant investment into the quality of its school facilities. As such, they have underscored the importance of a good education for its students,” he said. “Modern facilities will provide learning spaces designed for teaching in the 21st century. Our new facilities communicate to us that there are high expectations for teaching and learning in our school district. We intend to meet and exceed those expectations.”