|Ruth Moyer Elementary, expected to receive state funding for a major renovation.|
The Fort Thomas Independent School (FTIS) district has received word that Ruth Moyer Elementary has been slated to receive a major renovation.
The news, for which the district has just received official confirmation today, was first hinted at last Monday night's Board of Education meeting, after also being notified that the Moyer facility has made the Kentucky School Facilities Construction Commission's (SFCC) list of top 10 Kentucky schools most in need of total renovation.
Additionally, the district has announced that the state is expected to fund the project.
Board members expect the project will entail a total renovation, rather than demolition and reconstruction, because the core and foundation of the Moyer building are still in sound condition. The project will likely resemble the Highlands campus overhaul from roughly a decade ago.
The renovation comes as thrilling news to Board members, who pointed to Moyer as one of the district's perennially "unmet needs" in budgetary battles with the state, but there was some surprise that Robert D. Johnson Elementary, an older facility, was not selected for funding first, as per the district's most recent District Facilities Plan, which each school district in the state is required to update every four years.
That most recent plan had Johnson's renovation at the top of the list.
This year, the Kentucky General Assembly included new language in the state budget bill which authorized the SFCC to identify 10 schools across the state to be renovated or replaced. The bill specified that the schools to be renovated or replaced must be in districts that are currently making a significant local effort to address facility needs.
"I'm very proud of the commitment our community has to the school district," said Board member Karen Allen, in a press release. "Having Frankfort recognize the remarkable on-going local efforts the Fort Thomas community has made to address school facility needs has been long overdue."
According to the district's press release, sent out Monday morning, "The SFCC utilized the findings of an independent study to identify the 10 schools to fund, based on a number of criteria. Robert D. Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas was also very high on the SFCC list; however, Moyer Elementary was given higher priority due to the utilization of mobile classrooms on its campus. A condition of accepting this offer is that the funds must be allocated specifically to renovate Moyer Elementary."
Board member Scott Johnson also points to continued lobbying efforts by board and community members alike. "We're thrilled to be receiving this assistance from the state," he said, "which would not have been possible without continued, persistent efforts in Frankfort."
With this renovation now in the works, that will leave Johnson Elementary as the final FTIS facility still in need of a major update since the district's overhaul began, with the construction of the new middle school building nearly 15 years ago.
"I would like to thank the Kentucky General Assembly and the SFCC Board for recognizing and rewarding communities across the Commonwealth that are making significant local efforts to improve their school facilities," said FTIS Superintendent Gene Kirchner.
"This is a very proud day for the entire Fort Thomas community," he said.
Over the course of the next six to nine months, the district will develop plans for the renovation of Moyer Elementary. The target to being the project is the fall of 2015.
And, looking forward, a Johnson Elementary renovation could come sooner than later. "Johnson [Elementary] ranks 13th on the SFCC's list," Johnson added, "just outside the top 10, meaning that it will presumably be at the head of the next class."