BY SHERI TRUSTY
When Benton-Carroll-Salem (B-C-S) Local School District students in grades four through six return from Christmas break in January, they will have one more present waiting for them: A candy cane-shaped school.
A ribbon cutting was held for the Oak Harbor Intermediate School on Wednesday, Dec. 13, and students will move into the school’s new addition in January. An addition was constructed on R.C. Waters Elementary School, and now the K-6 building houses both R.C. Waters and Oak Harbor Intermediate School.
“Now the school looks like a candy cane,” said B-C-S Superintendent Cathy Bergman.
With the change, the school district now has only two school buildings, the K-6 building and Oak Harbor High School, which houses grades 7-12.
Thanks to the fiscal acumen of B-C-S Treasurer Cajon Keeton and the school board, the new addition to the K-6 building was paid for without additional tax money.
“It cost a little under $14 million at no additional taxes to the community,” Bergman said. “Keeton and the board were very good stewards with taxpayer money.”
Bergman said furniture and equipment will be moved into the new classrooms over winter break, and the school will be ready to welcome students on Jan. 4. The students will get a sneak peek at their candy cane school before Christmas vacation.
“We’ll shuttle the kids over there, so they’ll know where their classrooms are,” Bergman said.
Bergman said the school district maintained six buildings across the Oak Harbor area for many years. The district maintained three until recently, when the aging middle school building forced the district to filter down to just two. The future of the middle school building is still undetermined.
“There are a lot of memories there, but it is old. It would take millions to fix,” Bergman said.
Possibilities include selling it to a private buyer, using it for EMS needs, or converting it to green space.
“We’re still undecided about what do to with the middle school building,” Bergman said.