ARCANUM — A new “multi-purpose” building is on the horizon for Arcanum-Butler High School, one which will benefit FFA members, Trojan athletes and the Arcanum community at large.
Arcanum-Butler Superintendent John Stephens said the building, with an estimated cost of at least $3 million, will be built to the southwest of the current building, attached to the middle school and high school with an enclosed connector.
On one side, the building will house a vocational/agriculture laboratory, including welding booths and a greenhouse. On the other side, it will feature athletic facilities including athletic courts, batting cages, and weight lifting areas. There will be a community room, classroom space, storage and bathrooms as well.
When all is said and done, including the connector to the existing building, the mezzanine and the greenhouse, the structure will comprise approximately 20,000 square feet of space. Garmann Miller & Associates of Minster, Ohio, has created the architectural plans for the structure.
Not only will the building be utilized by Trojan ag students and athletes, it is hoped local residents will take the opportunity to avail themselves of the athletic areas and meeting spaces. Stephens said he is looking for a ground breaking sometime in early 2019 and completion by the end of that year.
Ultimately, the project is symbolic of the district’s resurrection of its vocational/agricultural education program and reinstatement of Arcanum-Butler’s FFA chapter a mere two years ago.
“Since having it back we have over 90 students in the FFA program, and all of our eighth graders take an ag/ed class,” said Stephens. “The numbers came back extremely strong. It’s exceeded my expectations.”
“I think at this point we’re beyond excited,” said Ag Instructor/FFA Advisor Brian Pohlman. “I think we’re getting so much closer to reality that it’s a little crazy. I’m really excited for the kids and the opportunity that is going to be there.”
“When you look at the facility plans and look at what the goal is, for kids that have an interest in plants, the greenhouse is there. For kids interested in mechanics, there’s woodworking, metalworking, engineering, electrical,” Pohlman added. “The kids are doing a lot of great things already in what space we have, but having this facility is going to open up a lot more of those areas.”
Financially speaking, the project is off to a good start, kickstarted by a substantial $250,000 donation given by Ralph and Phyllis Brumbaugh.
“The committee is obviously thrilled and extremely thankful for their very generous donation,” said Stephens.
As well, Greenville National Bank has pledged $45,000 and Jafe Decorating $30,000. Those wishing to give to the project can obtain levels of donation, ranging from “Patron” for a $50 donation all the way up to “Trojan” at $45,000. The names of those who donate at any level will be prominently displayed in various ways according to their generosity.
“It shows the support of our community and what they would like to do to support our students,” Stephens said.
Ultimately, the district will seek out a number of funding sources to make the building happen, including the capital campaign, money set aside by the school from casino revenue, donations from individuals and businesses, and grants from the state.
Further, the school is cooperating with Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) which is donating equipment. Arcanum-Butler is also exploring the possibility of a partnership with Edison State Community College to hold college-level vo/ag classes in the building.
“It’s come together quicker than I could have hoped,” said Stephens, who said the district has been fiscally responsible by setting money aside.
The project’s fundraising committee will be hosting a 6:30 p.m. “Kick Off” donor dinner March 10 at the Arcanum-Butler High School gymnasium for adult contributors to learn more about the project. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP no later than March 1 by calling 937-692-5174 or emailing Roberta_Zimmer@arcanum-butler.k12.oh.us
For further information on this and other happenings at Arcanum-Butler Schools, go online to www.arcanum-butler.k12.oh.us/ or visit the school’s Facebook page.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com