2009 Clay's Future Has Arrived

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The Clay Local Board of Education, below left, students of Clay Elementary and Middle School, bottom right, and students and teachers of Clay High School, top right, broke ground on new schools Friday.

Frank Lewis, Portsmouth Daily Times

Students from all three schools, school officials and members of the community, took part in the groundbreaking for the new Clay Local schools Friday morning in front of the current Clay High School.

The students applauded as each guest speaker was announced, and the high school band and chorus entertained those in attendance in the school’s gymnasium.

“This is just an exceptional day for our district,” Clay Local Schools Superintendent Tony Mantell said. “We watched school buildings go up all around us in Scioto County, and we have just yearned for this day for many many years, and it has finally come. We are just appreciative to our citizens here in Clay Township, and all of the support of the trustees, and all of the local authorities. Everybody has been behind us 100 percent. It’s just a great day for children. And that’s really the bottom line.”

Mantell said the goal of the Clay Local school board has always been to “do things right for children.”

Mantell was asked about the time frame involved in completing the project, the excavation of which is well under way.

“We are supposed to take the building over in July of 2011. That’s if things go well,” Mantell said. “You never know what you will run into in construction, but no doubt some time during that school year, we will be in the building — hopefully at the beginning.”

Mantell reflected on his career in education and the importance the new school will play in his life.

“I have been in education a long time, about 33 years, and I have never been through a building project,” Mantell said. “I have worked in a lot of great districts and I have learned a lot from a lot of people. But to finally be a part of building a new facility for children is the highlight of my career.”

One of the people Mantell thanked was Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott (89th District), currently running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Book talked to the Times about the importance of the new facilities being constructed.

“Education is the key for a lot of things,” Book said. “It gives people opportunities. It helps the community, because people with opportunities are more likely to have better paying jobs, and all kinds of things. And that starts at this level.”

“The fact that we can have a new school building in the community is just a great thing for us,” Book said. “It’s great for the Clay community. They have been waiting for a while. Now they are there, and I’m just glad to be a part of it. And I know that the results will show in the future as these kids work through a great school and go on to great things.”

At the conclusion of the indoor ceremony, the crowd moved outdoors to the actual groundbreaking ceremony. Three groups, including the dignitaries who had been involved in the presentation, elementary and middle school students and teachers, and high school students and teachers, wearing hard hats, took turns digging a shovel full of dirt and tossing it aside.

Clay Local School Board Vice President Bill Warnock said the cost of the project is in excess of $20 million, and was approved by voters in the March 2008 election.

FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232

Source:  Lewis, Frank.  "Building for the Future."  Portsmouth Daily Times, 19 September 2009, p. 1A+.  

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2009 Groundbreaking Ceremony

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Architect's conceptual drawing/view of new Clay Schools as seen from US 23.

A ground breaking for the new building will be held at 1 p.m. on September 18 in the gym of the current high school. At the event there will be speakers along with other various activities.

Wayne Allen, Community Common

On March 4, 2008, voters of Clay Township approved a bond issue that would allow the Clay Local School District to construct a new preK-12 school for the district. The district has unveiled the design of the new school to be constructed in front of the current high school.

"We have the design development, (the final step in design) and we are just about to start on the construction documents, (blueprints)," Tony Mantell, Superintendent of the Clay Local School District said.

He said one of the first considerations that comes into play in designing the building is the land its going to be built on.

"Where we are going to build the building is somewhat terraced. They (architects) designed the building with that in mind," Mantell said. "We are in the process now of preparing the site, we are in the midst of our early site package. Our building was designed to take advantage of the contour of the land."

He acknowledged the site is big enough for the new building but also has its limitations.

The district also wanted to make sure they were making the best use of the land available. So the building became two stories.

"The educational wings and the administrative part of the building (will be two stories). The common area of the building, cafetorium and Gym, are by nature two stories high. We believe we have taken advantage of the space by making the building two stories," Mantell said.

He said the building is uniquely designed and will not be like any other school in Scioto County.

The district has plans to save part of the current high school, due to recent investments and improvements to the space, the gym and surrounding area will be saved.

"In saving part of the old building, the gym and surrounding area (of the current high school) they have designed the building to have that (saved portions of the current high school) blend in behind it," he said. The saved gym will become a jr. high gym.

The space the district will save of the current high school will not be counted against them in their allocated space by the Ohio High School Facilities Commission.

Once the new building is complete he said the quality of education will be enhanced with added features unavailable to students currently.

"We have one building that's 80 years old, and other buildings that's between 50 and 60 years old. you just do not have the modern conveniences in these older buildings," Mantell said.

A ground breaking for the new building will be held at 1 p.m. on September 18 in the gym of the current high school. At the event there will be speakers along with other various activities.

For more information about the Clay Local School District, call 354-6645 or visit the school's website (http://www.clay.k12.oh.us)

Allen, Wayne.  "Clay Unveils School Design; Schedules Groundbreaking."  Community Common, 6 September 2009, p. 1+.

Clay Schools Deliver Funds to Foundation

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Clay Delivers $10,000 to Scioto Foundation/Clay Legacy Scholarship Fund 
Clay Legacy Scholarship Fund has its own website

Clay Alumni Association Vice-President LaRue Horsley and a delegation from Clay High School delivered a check for $10,000 to the Scioto Foundation on January 2, starting the New Year by fulfilling a major commitment to their partnership in the Foundation’s new UCAN or University/College Access Network Program.

Accompanying Horsley in the presentation to SF Executive Director Kim Cutlip was Todd Warnock, Clay HS principal; Donnie Caseman, school board member; and Mark Rose, teacher, athletic director, and district public relations coordinator.

Under the UCAN plan, the Clay Schools’ $10,000 will be matched by $10,000 from the Scioto Foundation to help grow the Clay Schools’ Legacy Endowment Fund in a dramatic fashion. All Scioto County schools participating in the UCAN program are eligible for a match up to $10,000 each year for their scholarship endowment funds invested with the Foundation.

“With school systems supporting the UCAN program, the goals will be met,” Horsley said, adding that now the Clay Schools will be working toward a target of $15,000 per year for the future with the combined efforts of the school system and the alumni association. He noted the good cooperation from the schools for all their donations to the annual auction fundraiser.

Seven years ago the Clay Alumni Association joined the Scioto Foundation’s POEM or Program for Organizational Endowment Making, a program to assist groups in building permanent endowment funds.

“The Foundation has helped realize the dream that the alumni association envisioned in its long-range plan,” said Horsley. “We already had some growing opportunities for raising funds and the POEM program fit our goals well. Now the UCAN program is going to give us not only our goal, but a system that will continue to increase funds for scholarships.”

“Someday I don’t think Clay will have any problems giving a scholarship to every Clay student who gets accepted to college,” Horsley commented.

“Our goal is to get kids through college; that is the culmination of what the Clay Schools are working for,” stated Warnock, who thanked Horsley for all he has done for the schools.

The Clay Alumni Association has worked hard to raise funds each year,” commented Cutlip. “Each year LaRue has appeared on January 2 with an annual check to increase their endowment. Partnerships between alumni associations and schools like this one at Clay are what will make the UCAN plan work.”

Clay’s funds for 2008-2009 included $2,700 from a portion of basketball gate receipts; $4,700 from the alumni association’s yearly auction of goods and services contributed by local businesses, individuals, school alumni and the schools themselves; school payroll deductions from the administration, faculty, staff and students; and proceeds from the alumni association’s annual banquet.

“After the first five years of the UCAN plan, we hope to be able to bump the challenge up to $12,500 and potentially beyond to a $20,000 per year match for the schools,” Cutlip said.

“What you are doing here is going to make footprints for many other community groups,” Horsley told Cutlip.

Source:  Kim Cutlip, executive director, Scioto Foundation

Groundbreaking to Begin in June 2009

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Architect's First Exterior Drawing of New Clay School
Portsmouth Daily Times article (March 17, 2009)



On March 4, 2008, the voters of Clay Local School District approved the construction of a new preK-12 school for the district.  The $23 million dollar project has been in the planning stages for the past twelve months.  The first contract for groundwork will be let for bidding within the next two weeks, with groundbreaking planned for June 2009.

Community Common Progress Edition

Community Common Progress Edition Supplemental Material Part 1 & Part 2

Portsmouth Daily TImes Progress Edition

New Clay Schools

Voters Approve New Clay Schools!

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The voters of the Clay Local School District spoke loud and clear on Tuesday, March 4, 2008, as they passed the Clay bond issue for a new pre-K-12 school facility.  Voters overwhelmingly approved the bond issue 1,071 to 382 (73.7% to 26.3%).

Thank you, voters, for helping "shape our future" !

WSAZ.COM Article & Video, Portsmouth Daily Times (Wednesday, Mar 5, 2008) article, & Election Night Results

Follow the bond issue and building project from campaign to completion 

Related story material & NewClaySchools.com

Voters soundly pass Clay levy

Clay Local Schools superintendent Tony Mantell greets supporters of Clay's bid for a new pre-K-12 school building with a celebration cake Tuesday, after finding out it appeared voters had passed the school's levy.
T.W. Allen/Daily Times













After only four months, district gains support for new school

Published:  Tuesday, March 4, 2008 11:30 PM CST
Last year, Clay Local Schools scrapped its plans to ask voters to pass a levy for a new school in November, opting instead to defer its plans and take advantage of new funding regulations offered by the Ohio School Facilities Commission. Originally fearing it could take as long as two years to get back on the ballot, the school worked with local and state officials to expedite the process and not only made it onto the ballot, but passed, after only four months.

Early Tuesday evening, hours yet before the polls had closed, Clay Local Schools superintendent Tony Mantell said he felt really good about the district's chances for passing the levy.

"We didn't do any kind of exit polls. So we really don't know. We just feel that everything we've heard from the community has been very positive. We haven't heard any negative comments. No negative materials passed out. Everyone seems to have gotten on board," he said.

Mantell and other supporters of the new school initiative gathered in the cafeteria of Clay High School Tuesday night, standing together and waiting for the results to come in.

As the night went on, Clay Township received a higher than expected voter turnout. Randy Basham of the Scioto County Board of Elections said that he delivered an extra 100 ballots to Clay Township precinct F, though he wasn't sure how many were actually used.

"Clay was big because of the school levy they had out there. We projected because of the presidential primary, that it would take so many ballots, and we sent those ballots out this morning (Tuesday). But as the day went on, there was a greater turnout," he said.

Polls closed in the county at 7:30 p.m. At 11 p.m. the preliminary results were announced to a cafeteria full of anxious people, that voters had passed a levy for new Clay schools.

The results at the end of the night were 1,071 in favor of the levy, and 382 against.

"We're all very, very pleased and very, very grateful to the voters of Clay Township. I think when you have a majority like that, it certainly shows that the community is unified around a school. In small town America, I believe that the school is the center of the community and this goes a long way for showing that voters of Clay Township do care about the schools and do care about the children," Mantell said.

He thanked voters for recognizing the value of the opportunity presented before them and supporting the levy.

"We're anxious to get started and we're going to make them proud," he said.

With this passage, the district plans to take advantage of new OSFC regulations which will contribute 81 percent of the cost of a new $21 million K-12 school building. The remaining 19 percent, or $4 million, will be bourn by the local school district. That cost will be covered by a 6.8 mill levy that the voters passed on Tuesday, which includes a 0.5 mill maintenance levy required by the state.

Mantell said the school already has an existing five year 4.5 mill permanent improvement levy which is set to expire in July. The existing levy wouldn't be eligible to fund the new school, and will not be renewed once it expires. Ultimately, Mantell said, it's only a difference of 2.3 mills to the voter.

Mantell said he hopes to break ground in 2009 and have the doors open by 2010, but will most certainly be open by 2011.

The new building is expected to be a multi-floor K-12 facility, seated directly in front of the existing Clay High School. In further efforts to save money and use funds to develop more learning spaces, the district plans to save portions of the current high school, such as the gymnasium and classrooms, to be converted into administrative offices.

Mantell said that by deferring the project only a few months, the district has been able to reduce the tax payer responsibility by about 40 percent.

Ottney, Ryan Scott.  "Voters Soundly Pass Clay Levy."  Portsmouth-dailytimes.com.  4 March 2008.  6 March 2008  <http://portsmouth-dailytimes.com/articles/2008/03/05/news/1news_clay.txt>.

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