Clinton County commissioners to mull future of 5-acre property at Wilmington Air Park


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



The Southern Ohio Learning Center, which opened in the pictured facility for the 2015-16 school year, is located on five acres owned by Clinton County at the Wilmington Air Park.

The Southern Ohio Learning Center, which opened in the pictured facility for the 2015-16 school year, is located on five acres owned by Clinton County at the Wilmington Air Park.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — County commissioners said Monday they will soon discuss whether to put a county-owned property located within the Wilmington Air Park on the market to sell.

The property is five acres in size and includes a building currently inhabited by the Southern Ohio Learning Center. The learning center is under the umbrella of the Wilmington-based Southern Ohio Educational Service Center (ESC), which provides educational support services to 12 school districts in Adams, Clinton, Fayette and Highland Counties.

Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said Monday that commissioners had discussed the property a couple times previously, when options were raised including potentially re-utilizing it for county needs and the school, as well as the potential of selling the property.

A couple parties have been interested in the property, which Steed described as “a five-acre island in the center of the air park.” Accordingly, he’s sure the Clinton County Port Authority — which owns the air park — would be interested.

Great Oaks has expressed an interest in the property, said Steed. The real estate is next to the Laurel Oaks Career Campus site in Wilmington.

The building is aging and will require servicing, he said.

“The [market] value is in the property itself, not in the facility,” said Steed.

The county does not charge the learning center rent.

The alternative school was located in the facility, but no longer is there.

According to information on the ESC website, the Southern Ohio Learning Center serves students with unique learning needs.

All four school districts in the county have students at the learning center, said Wilmington City Schools (WCS) Director of Pupil Services Natalie Harmeling in a Monday phone interview.

The Southern Ohio Learning Center opened for the 2015-16 school year. It was created for students with disabilities who have an identified need for behavior support and wrap-around services from mental health providers, Harmeling said.

While they’re at the learning center, these students receive academics, as well as mental health services.

The individual school districts had not been able to meet these students’ needs for both mental health services and behavior support, said the WCS educator.

The applicable school district and the student’s parents must approve in order for a child to be placed at the learning center, Harmeling said.

When the Southern Ohio Learning Center was being created several years ago, a number of facilities were considered and the site at the air park was regarded as the best place, she said.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

The Southern Ohio Learning Center, which opened in the pictured facility for the 2015-16 school year, is located on five acres owned by Clinton County at the Wilmington Air Park.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2018/10/web1_learning-center.jpgThe Southern Ohio Learning Center, which opened in the pictured facility for the 2015-16 school year, is located on five acres owned by Clinton County at the Wilmington Air Park. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com