Canton City Schools Superintendent Jeff Talbert is recommending the district move McKinley High School into a proposed new location on the Timken Career Campus in downtown Canton.
Talbert made the recommendation to the school board on Wednesday as part of a roughly $120 million facilities project that would move McKinley students and staff out of its current location near the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium within an estimated five years.
Subsequent actions under the recommendation would include the establishment of eight elementary schools that would serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade, as well as the discontinued use of buildings like Stone Elementary (built in 1931) and Schreiber (1956), and the demolition of Baxter, Mason, and Souers schools within the area.
McKinley’s current facilities, which were first constructed in 1975, were cited by Talbert as in need of significant repairs and “a significant distraction” alongside the neighboring Hall of Fame Village.
“But this is not what is driving this decision,” he emphasized. “It is certainly a part of it, but McKinley is a 1975 building. Our science labs are ancient. Add to that the addition of a water park, sports gambling, and other tourist attractions, and we can see that it is not an ideal place to operate a high school.”
Talbert did say, however, that the district would continue to utilize Tom Benson Stadium, the Memorial Fieldhouse, the Natatorium, the new Turk Alberta locker rooms, and the auxiliary gymnasium, should the new high school be built downtown.
Should the school board approve the recommendation, Talbert plans to ask the school board to put a tax issue on the May election ballot that would replace the $46.7 million bond issue that district voters approved in 1999 to help replace or renovate nearly every city school through the $176 million Design for the Future program.