Community Says Goodbye to Western Row

Community Says Goodbye to Western Row
Posted on 06/14/2019

Community Says Goodbye to Western RowOn May 23, Mason City Schools students and staff said a final goodbye to the school that has served our community's children so well since 1962. Educators shared lots of hugs and tears while saying goodbye by spraying students with water guns and blowing bubbles.


On May 18, the Western Row PTO created an amazing CommUNITY Carnival for students and residents to say goodbye to the school that has served our community for 60 years. That evening, current and former Western Row staff gathered to say goodbye - thanks to the planning of retired WR teacher Gayle Ertel. Watch Western Row teacher Kristen Lazuta share what made Western Row so special - the people.


The 2018-19 school year is Western Row Elementary’s last year educating Mason City Schools students. During 2018-2019, the district’s third and fourth graders attended school in the 1962 building, and in temporary learning spaces.  The district plans to find another great neighbor who will utilize the building and/or property. Closing Western Row saves approximately $500,000 in operating costs annually, and $14 million in capital investments that would be needed to bring Western Row up to Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) standards.


The closure is part of the district's Master Facilities Plan that shrinks the district's footprint and places 10,500 students in 5 schools located in 4 buildings in the district.


In 2001, the Mason Board of Education joined the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s Expedited Local Partnership Program, which was created from state tobacco settlement funds. That decision charted a course which ensured that Mason’s students benefit from safe, innovative, high-quality learning environments - just in time. Over the last 18 years, Mason Boards of Education and three superintendents (Dr. Kevin Bright, Dr. Gail Kist-Kline and Jonathan Cooper) and treasurers (Dick Gardner, Ronda Johnson and Shaun Bevan) reaffirmed this commitment. In 2013, Mason became eligible to receive funding from OFCC for future facility projects because of the construction and renovation projects the district completed for MHS, MECC & MI. The district received $34 million, or roughly 80 percent of the funding for these projects, from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission - offsetting the cost for needed facility improvements.


In 2019-2020, Mason City Schools third and fourth graders will attend the newly formed Mason Elementary School - located on the Mason Intermediate campus. Mason Elementary School students and staff have the opportunity to build something new, together. Mason Elementary School is located in the northern one-story entrance that temporarily housed Mason Middle School in 2018-2019 during its renovation, and was formerly known as the 4/5 side of Mason Intermediate.

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