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SWCS to find sites for displaced students
Officials in the South-Western City Schools District have a clearer picture of the upcoming construction project.
Mike Dingeldein, with SHP Leading Design, gave the board of education a progress update at a recent meeting.
“Things are moving along,” said Dingeldein.
The construction plan includes the replacement of 14 elementary schools with 13 new buildings. Franklin Heights High School will be replaced and minor renovations are planned at Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods.
Dingeldein said this summer, architects will conduct traffic studies, soil testing and topographic surveys at the sites of construction. They would also review zoning codes. He said they are looking for sites that could be used as swing space, which is buildings to house students while their school is under construction.
Dingeldein said Prairie Norton is an example of what could be a swing site. The land is large enough to build a new school building, while keeping the current building on site to house students through the completion of the construction. Monterey Elementary could also become a swing site.
Treasurer Hugh Garside said architects would construct swing sites first in order to house students from schools without swing space. For example, there is no space to construct a new building at the Richard Avenue Elementary site. When that school is under construction, students would go to the old Monterey building. The Monterey students would be moved to the new building.
Garside said the older building would be demolished when it was no longer needed.
Superintendent Bill Wise said most of the schools would return to the current site, with the exception of North Franklin.
“Due to the space constraints, North Franklin will be moved,” said Wise.
North Franklin is the oldest school building in the district. It opened in 1920.
Wise said the project managers are also reviewing potential new sites for East Franklin and Finland elementary schools, though plans for the buildings are undetermined.
The superintendent said the district has utilized focus groups for design aspects of the project. He said as the project progresses, the community would be asked for feedback.
Dingeldein said based on the focus group survey results, community members would like the buildings to have a contemporary design with traditional materials. The exterior design preferred is similar to Holt Crossing and Central Crossing.
“The community will have input on each building,” said Wise.
The district plans to hold several special meetings for public input beginning in the fall.
According to the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, the project is estimated at $249 million. The state would provide $124 million and the local share would be $125 million.
Voters made the project possible by voting in favor of a 2.9-mill bond issue in March. The issue kept the tax collection rates at current levels.
Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2013.
According to SHP Leading Design, it would take 15 to 16 months to build an elementary school and 24 to 27 months to rebuild Franklin Heights.
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