The Big Walnut school board on Feb. 14 will discuss a plan to close the administration building in Galena.

The Big Walnut school board on Feb. 14 will discuss a plan to close the administration building in Galena.

Superintendent Steve Mazzi on Jan. 23 told Galena Village Council the school board's development committee has met to discuss district facilities regarding cost, growth, efficiency and effectiveness, and have considered the possibility of vacating the site to avoid costly upkeep. Mazzi said he was notifying the village as a courtesy, because the closing could have a financial impact on the village.

"We have the Galena building, and it's not cheap to keep up," Mazzi said, "Last year, there was roughly $100,000 spent on that building, and that's money I have to take from the general fund. The question was raised 'At what cost do we keep things going?'"

Currently, Mazzi said "just over a dozen" people work in the Galena building who could "very easily" be housed in other buildings throughout the district.

"We have the relative luxury of having space in other buildings for these employees," Mazzi said, adding that with the district's slower rate of growth, housing them for the long-term won't be a problem.

"I'm nervous about the Galena building and it's closure," he said. "I've been in the district for 16 years, and I'm well aware of the political, historical and economic impact it could have on Galena."

Mazzi said the school board has three methods of ridding itself of the building: to offer it to a charter school, of which there are none locally; listing the building for sale; or placing it on the auction block with the district establishing the base price.

Mayor Tom Hopper said the solution that would best benefit the village is for a business to open at the site.

"We don't want this to be a white elephant in the middle of the village," he said. "We'll work closely with the district to find someone to put some money into it to maintain it and bring some income tax into the village."

Council president Nancy Feole read a proclamation honoring Hopper as Galena's longest-serving mayor. Appointed to the zoning and planning commission in 1987, he served until 1995. He was elected to the council in 1996 and appointed mayor of the village in January 2000.

"On behalf of the village of Galena, I'd like to recognize (his) outstanding character, dedication, and exemplary service to his community," Feole said.

Council also:

• Said the village is seeking bids for Galena Village Hall renovations. The project, which includes a handicap-accessible unisex bathroom and upgrades to the basement stairwell and northern fire escape exit, will not exceed $63,800 and should be completed by April 9.

• Authorized, for a year, the discharge of certain weapons for the purpose of varmint control on properties within the village of 40 acres or more that are agriculturally zoned.