LOWELLVILLE School work set to begin

The future of the old high school is uncertain.
LOWELLVILLE -- District Superintendent Richard Buchenic uses two words in describing the new K-12 campus the village is anticipating: It's time.
Groundbreaking on the 108,000-square-foot facility, which will be near the football field at Cooper Avenue and Dickson Street, was scheduled for this morning. Although high schoolers will be separated from grade-school pupils in different wings, all pupils will be consolidated under one roof.
Pupils are separated into a K-2 elementary school and a high school with grades three through 12.
'A tribute': "I'm sure that there are some very fond memories here," said Buchenic. "I think the community was in need of a new school, and it's a tribute to them, actually."
The new $13.5-million facility was funded through a $2.1-million bond issue passed November 1999, with the remaining sum picked up by the state.
Buchenic said the school board has three choices concerning the future of the old high school: selling, donating or demolishing it.
He said the board has not received an offer for the school and is leaning toward demolition. A decision hasn't been made regarding the old elementary school.
Reusing some items: Bells from the two buildings, however, will be saved and incorporated into the campus.
But the new building will have bells and whistles of its own. Two gymnasiums will house the school's athletic programs, which must fight for time in one gym. The district also rents out gym space.
Buchenic said facility schematics have not been finalized yet, and the board is still deciding on issues such as security systems.
Southside Elementary was built in 1932. The high school was constructed in 1905.

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