Consultants Recommend School Renovations, Closings

Lee High School is one of 59 public schools in Montgomery. All were evaluated by consultants.
Lee High School is one of 59 public schools in Montgomery. All were evaluated by consultants.

You might consider it a sobering wake-up call for Montgomery. Nearly every public school building in the city is below modern-day standards. That's according to an outside consulting firm.

Ohio's DeJong Educational Planning Firm is recommending that most schools undergo extensive renovations while others simply be shut down. It also recommends building several new schools in areas where the population is growing.

The price tag would be approximately $250 million. School board members got their first look at the pricey proposal Tuesday night.

"The bottom line is that over half of the buildings either need to have major renovations or be replaced," said consultant Bill DeJong. "They need new windows, new air conditioning systems, new plumbing."

But there are several schools which DeJong claims are beyond repair. He suggests closing the following schools:

  • Dunbar-Ramer Elementary School
  • Hayneville Road Elementary School
  • Flowers Elementary School
  • Paterson Elementary School
  • Peterson Elementary School
  • Pintlala Elementary School
  • Bellingrath Junior High School
  • Capitol Heights Junior High School
  • Houston Hill Junior High School

Montgomery county's four high schools are also in bad shape, but the fix here is less obvious. DeJong recommends anything from building eight new high schools across the city to building just one county-wide mega school.

"There are some good things going on in our district, but we are trying to do 21st century kind of things in last century buildings," explained Superintendent Carlinda Purcell.

But Purcell points out that DeJong's report is only a recommendation. In the end, she says it's the public that will decide what's best for the future.

"It's not the answer. But it gives us a lot of information to make decisions on," Purcell said. "It also leaves enough room so that administrators, board members, and citizens can design the kind of schools they want for Montgomery."

School board members say they will hold a number of public hearings over the next six months on the proposals and how to pay for them. You can also read the consulting firm's report at the school district's web site: