By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools and the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission have narrowed the search for an architect to design the district’s new high school from 13 firms to three.
“These are three quality firms,” said Superintendent Bruce Hoover at the Groveport Madison Board of Education’s Sept. 10 meeting.
The three finalists are SHP, Moody-Nolan, and VSWC. Hoover said professional ratings, previous work by the firms, the companies’ finances and recommendations were among the criteria considered in choosing the three finalists.
Hoover said representatives from Groveport Madison and the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission will interview the three architecture firms on Sept. 22.
“Once an architect is selected, the firm will be recommended to the school board for approval at the end of September,” said Hoover. “Following that, the request for proposal for a project construction manager can be sent out. Everything seems to be on pace for the project.”
The new $62.9 million, 230,000 square foot Groveport Madison High School, will be paid for by Ohio Schools Facilities Commission funding of $29.6 million and a local taxpayer share of $33.3 million. The new school will be built in the existing high school parking lot. Once the new high school is open, the existing high school, located at 4475 S. Hamilton Road, will be demolished. The new high school could be completed by June 2018.
Groveport Madison Treasurer Tony Swartz said $33 million in bond sales have been made to help fund the construction of the new high school.
“We’re ready to pay for it,” said Swartz. “We just need to get to turning shovels.”
Swartz also noted that, in August, the district received $142,896 in casino revenue earmarked for the schools.
“Compared to the district’s $80 million general fund budget, this is not a lot of money when you look at the whole picture,” said Swartz.
He said last year the district received $141,887 in casino revenue.
“The revenue from casinos is not taking off like was expected,” said Swartz. “Casino money is not going to be a savior.”
School safety and security
Security has been tightened up at each of Groveport Madison’s schools.
“We have safe schools,” said John Hurd, dean of students/safety director. “We have DVRs in all the buildings and a minimum of five security cameras in each building.”
Additionally, Hurd said a $50,000 grant from the Ohio School Facilities Commission enabled the district to install security doors at each building to control who enters.
According to Hurd, the Ohio School Facilities Commission helped the district obtain security MARCS radios for each building at no cost to the schools.
“These radios will be used in crisis situations, like if there is an active shooter at a school,” said Hurd. “The radios will enable staff to call for help. There will be one radio per building and they will be mounted in the office area.”
He said lockdown training with the assistance of local police is taking place at each building.
Hurd said the District Crisis Plan, which has not been updated since 1994, is being revamped. As part of this update, Safeguard Risk Solutions is studying the security at the district’s building at a cost of $10,000.
“The updated plan will provide step-by-step procedures on what to do in a crisis situation,” said Hurd, who said it is hoped the new plan will be completed within the next 45 days “It will be available electronically as well as a paper version.”
“Keep it simple,” Board President Bryan Shoemaker told Hurd regarding the plan.