By Linda Dillman
A $27 million renovation of the Canal Winchester High School complex kicked into gear this summer with pre-site work underway, followed by construction starting at the end of the year.
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar said the district hopes to have the additions—including new classrooms, a new media center and a new auxiliary gym—finished in time for the 2020-21 school year.
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.
Sotlar reported there should be minimal impact on school, except for parking.
“Pre-construction work has begun at the high school,” said Sotlar. “They’re working on underground utilities and the parking lot. There will then be a lull for a couple of months with the actual start of construction in January. We added a high school construction update tab on the website and will keep people aware of what’s going on.”
The total cost of the project—two years in the planning stages—is $27.1 million with the state contributing $19.6 million and a local share of $7.5 million with no new taxes.
“This project is being financed through the general fund,” said Sotlar. “We did not ask taxpayers to approve a bond levy for the project. OFCC is covering around 80 percent of the cost. This is the second phase of the OFCC project. The additions will give us needed classroom space to cover growth now and in the future. We are anticipating 700 to 1,000 new homes in the next five to eight years.”
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.
When asked why the district included an auxiliary gym in the project, Sotlar said according to the
OFCC, Canal Winchester is undersized in gym space.
“We felt the auxiliary gym was the best way to use that space,” added Sotlar. “It is flexible space that can be use in multiple ways. This is a very exciting time for the district, and I am looking forward to watching the project develop from its inception to its end. Although it will be hectic the next few years, the end result will be well worth it.”