By Rick Palsgrove
More details about the features of the new Groveport Madison High School are becoming available as construction progresses.
District officials said the new high school will be a community focal point.
“While all of our children are ‘Cruisers,’ they attend various elementary and middle schools across the district,” said Groveport Madison Board of Education President Libby Gray. “When they reach their freshman year they all come together and become one school body – Groveport Madison High School. This brings everyone in the community together and connects everyone to this one school. The high school is the focal point of the community. Today, that focal point has been heightened. There is an
excitement in the air about the new building. Everyone is feeling a sense of hope for the district and looking forward to a bright future.”
The new high school will be built south and west of the existing high school, located at 4475 S. Hamilton Road. The existing school, built in stages from 1966-71, will continue to be used during construction.
The 240,000 square foot new high school will house up to 1,500 students and is expected to open by the fall of 2018. The existing high school will be demolished in the summer of 2018.
The approximately $60 million high school will be paid for by Ohio Schools Facilities Construction Commission funding of $28.1 million and a local taxpayer share of $24.9 million provided by a bond issue passed by the voters in May 2014. In addition the $60 million cost includes $8 million in
Groveport Madison Local Education Association President Joy Bock and Vice President Zac Casperson have high hopes for what the new high school could offer.
“The teachers of the Groveport Madison Local Education Association are hopeful about the opportunities the new high school will bring our students,” said Casperson. “We hope that these opportunities will include smaller class sizes, expanded course offerings, improved teaching and learning conditions, and the ability to have licensed teachers and specialists teaching and staffing all learning spaces.”
The academic wings
The school will have 52 typical classrooms averaging 820 square feet in size with built-in storage cabinetry, reconfigurable furniture, Smart Boards and classroom technology, and white boards. This is up from 28 permanent classrooms and 12 modular classrooms at the current school.
There will be six science labs and a dozen science classrooms, 12 extended learning areas, open study/work areas, and Smart Boards and technology-based collaboration stations.
Three art rooms feature flexible seating and work areas, built-in cabinetry/storage, and a room for ceramics instruction.
There will be two vocal and instrumental music rooms; one large band room and one large choir room; six music practice rooms; and storage rooms for equipment, music, clothing, and instruments.
Labs include a high-bay production career-technical lab, business/computer lab, production lab, child development lab, and a life skills lab.
There will be a business classroom and equipped special needs classrooms. The school will have a library/media center with a multi-media production room.
“It’s really not about features as much as it is about providing educationally-appropriate space to provide our students with a high-quality, 21st century education,” said Gray. “The foundational reason for the new building was to address crisis-level overcrowding and the new high school will accomplish that and more.”
Gyms, auditorium, common areas
The school will have a 1,500-seat competition gymnasium with scoreboards that includes main and cross basketball courts and a main volleyball court. There will also be an auxiliary gym with two basketball courts. Other facilities include a wrestling room, athletic and physical education locker rooms, physical health/weight room, and physical education/athletics areas.
The 600 seat auditorium will have an orchestra pit with wheelchair lift; acoustic panels and baffles to enhance sound performance; sound, lighting, and projection control center; scene shop, dressing rooms, and drama classroom; and a catwalk to access theatrical lighting and rigging.
The dining commons will have flexible seating and tables, a concession stand, and Spirit Shop for the marketing education program. The commons will serve as the lobby for the auditorium and gymnasium.
Safety and security
The school will have central-locking doors with instantaneous lock-down capability, security cameras and monitoring systems, security vestibules with two-way communication, automatic credential access (key fobs), fire walls dividing the building into five sub-buildings, automatic sprinkler system and fire alarm, and separate bus loop and parking areas.
There will be two teacher prep areas, a mailroom, custodian prep areas and storage rooms, kitchen and food preparation areas, receiving area and storage rooms, and mechanical rooms.
The building’s sustainable “green” design will be fully air conditioned and will have a high-efficiency mechanical system and LED lighting throughout. Energy-efficient windows will provide natural light. The school will be fully handicap accessible with an elevator serving both levels.
“Building a school in 2016 means you’re equipping it with the latest technology, equipment and resources, and these amenities help prepare our students to compete against students from not only central Ohio, but across the globe,” said Gray.