XENIA — The vacant East High School building could soon be bustling with students again.
Community STE(A)M Academy Xenia — which purchased the former Xenia YMCA building to use as a tuition-free school focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics — is in the process of acquiring the vacant high school building on East Market Street for the school as well.
If a conditional zoning request is approved by Xenia Planning and Zoning, CSA-Xenia would purchase and use East High for K-5 and the old YMCA building for 6-12. Conditional zoning is needed because once the building ceased to be a school, the zoning was reverted back to residential. Obtaining conditional zoning is a quicker process, according to Xenia Planning and Zoning Director Brian Forschner, because it requires one public hearing and the zoning doesn’t change. A rezoning requires multiple public hearings and legislation acted on by city council.
The building and land is currently privately owned, according to county records.
CSA-Xenia founder and CEO Dr. Jeremy Ervin said there would still need to be evaluations of the building and a study of the environmental risk. But East High would be ideal for the lower grades because of the green space, allowing recess and other outdoor activities common with elementary schools. Additional construction would take place at both locations, Ervin added.
“We need at least two facilities,” he said. “We need a total of 180,000 square feet. (But) nothing goes forward unless we get a conditional use.”
According to the school’s brochure, the majority of the students will be coming from within a 30-mile radius, which contains eight counties and 47 school districts, which currently represents more than 170,000 students based on 2019-20 National Center for Education Statistics.
The school would be the first K-12 STEM/STEAM school in Ohio and the first of its kind in Greene County.
The closest current option is Dayton Regional STEM, a 6-12 school about 20 minutes away.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.