FAYETTEVILLE — The Fayette County Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday to close three Oak Hill area elementary schools.

The move will make way for a new school to house the student bodies of Oak Hill, Oak Hill East End and Scarbro elementaries.

Those schools will remain open until a new facility — to be funded largely by School Building Authority money — can be completed on the campus of Oak Hill High School to house about 675 students in grades pre-k through four. The earliest the students could be in the new building would be the 2008-09 school year.

The closure vote occurred after three nights of hearings at the respective schools that attracted scant public input.

“This means that the county will have its first modern building in approximately 20 years,” a happy Superintendent Helen Whitehair said afterward. “Overall, we’ve had tremendous support.

“There have been very few in the community questioning it.”

“I appreciate the administration working with the teachers, the community, the parents to have educational meetings and let everyone know what is happening,” board president Steve Pilato said.

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In what was a pattern at this week’s closure hearings, those on hand for Wednesday’s hearing at Scarbro Elementary could be counted on two hands. A total of two or three minutes transpired between the opening and closing gavels. No one registered to speak on the proposal to close Oak Hill, Oak Hill East End and Scarbro elementary schools.

The scarcity of board members mirrored the lack of public input, as Patricia Spangler and Carolyn Arritt were absent for family illnesses. Pilato reminded those in attendance that a quorum of three members was present to conduct business.

Lack of an auditorium had been the primary complaint, but officials said plans were in the works for a large gathering space.

No one registered to speak at Oak Hill Elementary School’s four-minute meeting on Monday, and Pilato said only two people raised minor concerns Tuesday at Oak Hill East End Elementary.

Newly elected board member Dave Arritt spoke Tuesday of how long it had been since the county had a new elementary school and expressed concerns about the traffic situation at the proposed site when it opens to students, Pilato said.

He also inquired about the selection of the new location and where the school will be placed on it.

Arritt will take office July 1.

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