By Linda Dillman
Weather permitting, construction at Canal Winchester High School should kick into gear within the next two weeks.
During a Jan. 14 Canal Winchester Board of Education meeting, Superintendent James Sotlar said the multi-year and multi-million dollar renovation and construction project is expected to start back up around the end of the month.
“They’ll start with footers first and then start building the walls for the media center, auxiliary gym and the two other additions,” said Sotlar. “Most of the renovation work will occur during the summer months. That’s why we’re starting school later next year (Aug. 28) so we have more time during the summertime and less disruption to the educational process during the school year.”
Work will continue over the next two summers and, if everything goes well, Sotlar said the project should be complete in time for the 2020-21 school year.
“It’s going to be an interesting year and a half,” said Sotlar. “Yes, it will be a little chaotic and disruptive, but I think the end result will be well worth it. Just be patient with us as we go through this process.”
The renovation includes new classrooms, a new media center and a new auxiliary gym. Also included in the project are second floor bathrooms, renovated classrooms, relocation of administrative offices, a cafeteria extension and a new parking lot in front of the school’s Washington Street entrance.
The total cost of the project is $27.1 million with the state contributing $19.6 million and a local share of $7.5 million with no new taxes. The local share is being financed through the general fund. said Sotlar.
Sotlar also discussed the upcoming levy renewal on the May 7 ballot and a STEM certification effort at an elementary school.
He said the existing five-year substitute renewal expires at the end of the year and must be renewed in order to keep the district financially stable for another five years.
Winchester Trail staff members began the STEM application process after the middle school received the STEM designation last year.
According to Sotlar, the designation helps students to better prepare for a future with a significant concentration in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
“Data shows more than nine million jobs will be added in STEM related fields in the next 10 years,” Sotlar said. “I believe it is our duty to help prepare our students for the job. The STEM designation also fits perfectly with our mission and with our focus on the four C’s along with project-based learning. I’m very excited about this opportunity and the Winchester Trail STEM designation team has been working hard on the application.”