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SWCS eager to begin plans for new buildings
The first step to replace aging buildings in the South-Western City Schools District began on March 6, when voters approved a 2.8-mill bond issue that allowed the district to receive $120 million in state funds and cover its local share for the project.
So what is the next step in the process to replace 13 elementary schools, renovate two others and build a new Franklin Heights High School? According to district officials, it is many months of planning.
“In the very near future, we’ll begin the program of requirements,” said Mark Waller, the district’s property services coordinator. “This will help us determine what the district will need in the classroom.”
Waller said the program of requirements, which factors in the number and types of spaces the district would need to serve its students, would take at least three to four months. He said community input, such as the one that will take place on April 26 at Grove City High School at 7 p.m., is encouraged.
“As long as it’s realistic, it will be considered,” he said.
Waller said community ideas played a large role when the district was building new intermediate schools in 1999.
“They spoke very strongly about the location of the front doors and because of this, the towers were created so people know where the front doors are and where they should come in,” he said.
After the planning phase is complete, the architects would begin the schematic design phase where the building’s required spaces are developed. If plans are approved by the district and the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, the bidding process and construction phase would begin. District officials say they hope to break ground in summer 2013.
The planning has already begun for Franklin Heights High School. Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said there have been tours of recently constructed high schools to get ideas of square footage and placement of classrooms.
Waller said they wanted the high school design process under way first because its scope is larger than the elementary schools.
“The sooner it starts, the better,” he said. “If we move along we’ll stay ahead of the inflation game.”
As for where the students will be when construction begins on the schools, Waller said they are still identifying which buildings could be used as swing space to act as a temporary home.
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