By Linda Dillman
Take a drive down Canal Winchester’s Washington Street and you’ll be greeted with the sights and sounds of a major construction project at the high school campus as new additions go up and old spaces are given a new life.
According to Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar, pre-site work on the multi-million dollar project started in July 2018 and construction started in February of this year. The final completion date is projected to be in August 2020, before the start of that new school year.
This is the second phase of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project.
“There are major renovations going on in the east and west wings,” said Sotlar.
Currently under construction are a new auxiliary gym, new media center, new office area and additional classroom space. The project also includes new classroom desks and chairs, new corridor flooring, new lighting, classroom painting, new wiring for technology, new sidewalks, and a new electronic school sign.
Since the building was deemed undersized in regard to gym space, Sotlar said district representatives felt an auxiliary gym was the best way to use the area, since it is flexible space that can be use in multiple ways.
Also included in the multi-million dollar project are second floor restrooms, the relocation of administrative offices, a cafeteria extension and a new parking lot in front of the school’s Washington Street entrance. A new fire lane was constructed and a bike path will created near the athletic building.
“They’re pretty much on target, said Sotlar. “The additions will give us needed classrooms space to cover growth now and in the future. We are anticipating 300 new homes in the next five years.”
Although the building will feature new carpeting and seating, science labs in good condition were kept as a cost-cutting measure.
The total bill for the project is $26.1 million. The state share is $18.6 million and the district’s share is $7.5 million. The entire project is being built without new tax money and financed through the general fund.
Sotlar emphasized taxpayers were not asked to approve a bond levy for the project. The OFCC is covering approximately 80 percent of the cost.
According to Sotlar, no new staff is expected at this time, but as enrollment grows, he anticipates there will be a need in the future.
Sotlar said when school resumes in August, work will continue on the auxiliary gym, media center and classroom space. He expects minimal impact on student life.
No new construction projects are on the horizon at this time, according to Sotlar.
A student-created video of drone footage of the building under construction is available for viewing on the district’s website.