Superintendent John Stephens answers new building questions at community meeting


By Mary Jones - mjones@dailyadvocate.com



ARCANUM — Thursday evening, Superintendent John Stephens hosted a community meeting to inform the community about the details for the planned new multi-use and agriculture education building and to answer any questions. Some community members still question the purpose of it, how it differs from the MVCTC, and how it will be paid for.

The total square footage planned for the building is over 19,000 square feet, including the main building space, a building connector, a mezzanine level and a greenhouse. Over 6,400 square feet is dedicated to the agriculture education space and nearly 2,000 additional square footage will be utilized for the community room/classroom and an additional classroom. The multi-purpose athletic space square footage is just over 5600. The connector, restrooms, storage, mezzanine and office space make up the remaining square footage.

The building cost is estimated at $3.2 million with the school looking to raise $1 million. So far, community and corporate donations have raised $777,020.

“The Arcanum-Butler Local School District partners with MVCTC to provide a satellite agricultural education program. This [new] building is going to work as a gateway and introduction to those areas. Students in Arcanum will now be able to have hands on learning in metal fabrication, electrical, construction, masonry, mechanics, fabrication, plant science, animal science, and more,” said Superintendent of Arcanum Schools John Stephens.

The MVCTC gives students a broader selection of classes in various careers, whereas the new building will have more of a focus on the agricultural programs. He said that along with the classroom space, the agricultural building will have a lab area, greenhouse, tool crib, storage, and mezzanine area. The multi-purpose room will have varied uses including physical education classes and athletic events.

After the reinstatement of the FFA program, which had been obsolete for close to twenty years, talks of the new building began. Students simply do not have enough room to get the experience and learning of agriculture that a bigger classroom will provide.

“The use of a regular classroom has limited the amount of hands-on opportunities critical to a complete agricultural education program. The new building will provide the lab space needed to allow students to further explore and learn skills associated with woodworking, metalworking, mechanics, and agri-science, for example.”

The community room in the new building differentiates it from MVCTC. It will be a room with varied uses. Daytime hours will be for different classes such as health or physical education. Students can use the community room for state testing. Evening hours will be open to the community.

They are still working on how the entry will work. There are ideas such as key fabes to gain entrance. Edison State Community College, who partners with Arcanum, may use the community room for evening classes.

The project is being funded through donations, some expanding to a three-year pledge, which was a common theme for businesses.

“Additionally, the project qualified for capital budget dollars from the State of Ohio, but we are waiting for the governor’s final approval on the amount,” he said.

The Miami Valley Career Technology Center (MVCTC) said they will contribute materials and equipment needed for the Agricultural Lab and classrooms to ensure the rooms are properly furnished. Edison State Community College said they will provide additional furnishings the building may need.

The Arcanum Athletic Boosters are working to contribute equipment for the multi-purpose part of the building.

The new building is expected to be completed in Fall of 2019.

By Mary Jones

mjones@dailyadvocate.com