Howey fanning

Dan Obryna presented his finings after a study of the buildings in the Mansfield City Schools District to the board of education at a special board meeting Tuesday evening.

MANSFIELD -- The Mansfield City School Board of Education met for a short, special meeting Tuesday night to hear a presentation by Fanning Howey about the district's facilities.

A representative from Fanning Howey, an integrated architecture, interiors and engineering firm, discussed the school's buildings and potential for restructuring class sizes to include more students per classroom.

The school district student body has seen a 35-percent decline since 2007, said Dan Obryna, who led the presentation. He added this school year has seen the least amount of decline since 2010.

He argued the district should look to consolidating classes to meet the state standard of 25 students per class, especially in bigger school buildings.

"I think one of the benefits (of more students in a classroom) would give students the maximum classroom experience, as opposed to spreading them thin," said board president Renda Cline. "I think if you could have four different classes instead of five, you could have the best of everything in those classrooms."

Cline said no decisions will be made until the board and administrators discuss the presentation. Board members Cheryl Weber and Chris Elswick were absent from the meeting.

Obryna broke down each school building in the district and noted the number of classrooms and square footage of them.

Springmill Elementary, built in 1961, holds 19 classrooms averaging 877 to 900 square feet.

"That's the perfect size for the state standard of 25 students," he said. "If we were to build a school, that's the size we'd make the classrooms."

Sherman Elementary, also built in 1961, holds 21 classrooms at 770 to 990 square feet.

Woodland Elementary -- the oldest building in the district -- built in 1936 with additions in 1960, holds 12 classrooms at 640 square feet each.

Obryna said with the size of Woodland's classrooms, he didn't recommend increasing size of classes.

Prospect Elementary, built in 1950 with additions in 1961, holds 15 classrooms at 742 to 760 square feet.

Spanish Immersion, built in 1950 with additions in 1956, has 19 classrooms at 748 to 824 square feet.

Malabar intermediate, built in 1962, holds 32 classrooms at 730 square feet.

Mansfield Senior High/Middle School, -- the district's newest building -- built in 2004 has 94 classrooms. Obryna did not give classroom square footage for this building.

He noted the high school is the only district building with a security vestibule for visitors to check into before entering the school.

"They let you in and you can go pretty much anywhere," he said.

At the end of the presentation, Obryna posed questions to the board to consider.

"There are some core questions you need to consider," he said. "Are there operational cost benefits and are there educational benefits that could be improved?"

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Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.