West Side News

City, schools partner on Kingston project


The city of Grove City and the South-Western City School District have teamed up to share a building -- something officials hope will lead to more partnerships.

Monday, Feb. 4, marked the reopening of the Kingston School building at 3326 Kingston Ave. Because of a partnership between the city and the school district, the previously closed building will now be used for programming by the city's Parks and Recreation Division.

The facility has already begun to host karate, gymnastics and fitness classes.

"We'll probably have classes every night of the week," Parks and Recreation Director Kim Conrad said.

Conrad said the department anticipates providing programming for about 100 people daily.

"At least initially," she said, adding that the department is looking to expand programming there.

In addition, the city's monthly bloody drivewill be held in the building; that occurred for the first time Feb. 5.

The Kingston building was closed at the end of the 2008-2009 school year as part of a plan by the district to cut $8 million.

Under the terms of the lease agreements, approved by city council in January, Grove City can use the building rent-free, and in return, the city must make certain improvements to the property and pay utility costs.

The improvements, according to the agreement, include the installation and maintenance of air conditioning for the gym area and the upgrade and maintenance of the internal space, restroom facilities, parking lot and exterior lighting.

The lease is for three years, and the city will have two one-year extension options, along with the first right of refusal if the school district decides to sell the property.

The district will retain the right to terminate the lease if it requires the space for educational purposes, but if the termination occurs during the initial lease term, the district will owe the city a proportionate share of the cost of the improvements and upgrades.

Superintendent Bill Wise said the Kingston arrangement speaks highly of the partnership between the city and district, adding that they are looking for more opportunities.

"We couldn't be more pleased to be a part of it," Wise said.

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage also said they would continue to look for more opportunities for the city and schools to partner up.

"This is an absolute win-win," he said.