Newark City Schools now owns the former State Farm building at 1440 Granville Road after completing the purchase earlier this month. The district purchased the 350,000 square foot building for $2.2 million.
Over the next couple of years, the district will centralize its preschool program, relocate NCS Digital and move the technology department to the building.
“The State Farm building addresses our immediate need for additional preschool space,” Board of Education President Beverly Niccum said. “It also offers many opportunities for the school district and the Newark community in the future. I am pleased we have this opportunity to purchase this building.”
While the preschool may not move until 2023, the district can still use the space in the meantime for events such as Citizen of the Month lunches and one-to-one device distribution. The district is also actively pursuing public and private partnerships to lease portions of the building. As much as 100,000 to 150,000 square feet of leasable space may be available.
“We’re also exploring future educational options to implement as a district,” Superintendent David Lewis said. “We want to partner with other institutions to serve the needs of students in Licking County.”
Currently, the district’s preschool program includes three units each at Hillview Elementary, Cherry Valley Elementary and Flying Colors, plus one unit at Head Start. A consolidated preschool will free up space at the elementary schools and allow the district to stop renting space at Flying Colors.
Prior to purchasing the building, the district completed a comprehensive financial analysis and building condition report. The building is in great condition, only needing roof repairs during the next 10 years, in addition to remodeling costs.
Remodeling costs for currently planned changes are estimated to amount to about $6.5 million. All of the cost for the purchase and remodeling for school-related purposes will be paid for through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds — not local tax dollars.
“This is a great opportunity for partnership between our district and other agencies and businesses,” Treasurer Julio Valladares said. “Leasing some of the building space will allow us to offset expenses and make the purchase a net positive financially.”
Educational institutions, community organizations and businesses who are interested in more information about leasing space are invited to contact the treasurer’s office at 740-670-7010.