Groveport Madison Schools officials reviewing district’s future building plans


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

The Groveport Madison Board of Education is looking at how to proceed with Phase II of the district’s building plan by considering shifting away from the middle school concept to new schools that would house grades K-8.

“Enrollment has increased and the district is overcrowded as evidenced  by the need to introduce modular classrooms next year,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Bruce Hoover. “This is the first stage of our conversations around the facility plan. There’s a lot of research to be done and considerable conversations to be had with the community and our staff before any formal recommendation is brought before the board.”

The K-8 concept

Hoover said several recent national research studies show that middle schools around the country (usually composed of grades 6-8) are educationally dysfunctional and exhibit student behavourial problems and declining academic achievement.

“Is the middle school model reasonable now?” asked Hoover.

According to information from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, education experts have concerns about drops in student achievement, interest in school, and student self-confidence once kids reach middle school.

Hoover noted there are districts that are moving away from the middle school concept and going to K-8 buildings, including the Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus school districts.
“We would not be the first in the game,” said Hoover, who added the K-8 concept could provide for better discipline, higher achievement, and a positive impact on learning by providing a continuity of instruction.

According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, advantages of a K-8 building are that: it allows for better coordination amongst teachers across grade levels; minimizes student stress around transitions to new schools; allows families to transport students to one location rather than multiple school sites; and increases parental involvement. The disadvantages include: with a variety of ages in one building, young students may be bullied or influenced by older students; a K-8 building needs a lot of space; and scheduling becomes more complex for use of gyms, the cafeteria, and other resources.

“There’s lots of ways to design such a building where you could have wings for different grade levels,” said Hoover. “It’s all about good design.”

The existing plan

Groveport Madison’s original, four-year-old, estimated $166 million proposed master facilities plan – with $78 million as the local taxpayer share of the cost and $88 million from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission calls for replacing the high school (which is being done) and then replacing the three existing middle schools and  six elementaries and constructing: two  719 student, 101,000 square foot, middle schools for grades 6-8 at $22.4 million each; and four, 681 student, 79,000 square foot, new elementaries at $17.5 million each.  This plan would reduce the number of buildings in the district from 10 to 7. The district currently has one high school, three middle schools and six elementaries.

Going to the K-8 building concept

However, the board is now considering potentially building three or four K-8 buildings to replace the existing middle schools and elementaries, which would reduce the number of buildings in the district from 10 to either 4 or 5.

Chris Dumford of VSWC Architects told the board that, with the K-8 concept, fewer sites are needed and, “It’s cheaper to build three bigger buildings than six smaller ones.”

Dumford said if the board pursued building three K-8 buildings, each of the schools would be 180,000 square feet, house 1,384 students, and be situated on 24 to 34 acres on three different sites.

Dumford said an unofficial estimated total cost to build the three K-8 schools would be $135 million. However, he said that figure does not include the cost to demolish the existing middle schools and elementaries.

Groveport Madison Treasurer John Walsh said such a project would be funded with 53 percent Ohio Schools Facilities Commission funding and 47 percent local funding. Under that set up, Groveport Madison’s local share of the project would be $63.5 million. If a 4.3 mill bond issue were to be approved by the voters for the project, Walsh estimated it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $150 per year.

The district could consider placing such a  bond issue on the spring 2019 ballot. Dumford said if voters approve that bond issue, it would take a year to design the K-8 building, two years to build it, and it could open by the fall of 2022. The construction schedule of the other two proposed K-8 buildings would be staggered.

Dumford said the district could purchase land for a new K-8 school, build it, and then use that building and other existing buildings to transition and house students while the other two new K-8 schools would be built on existing school sites and while the older buildings are torn down.

“That way we would only have to buy one piece of land,” said board member Bryan Shoemaker.

Regarding moving away from middle schools to K-8 buildings, Board President Libby Gray said she did not want Groveport Madison to be a test case “guinea pig” for the concept and that she wants to see how other similar school districts have handled the concept.

The board members, as well as Hoover, all agreed they need to visit other schools districts, that are of a similar size and demographics as Groveport Madison,  that are using the K-8 concept so they can see how it works. They also want to hear opinions on the K-8 school concept from the district’s educators and the community.

“We need to know what the public will back,” said board member Chris Snyder. “We need to have the pulse of the public.”

The board and district officials will discuss the potential building plan further at future meetings.


Groveport Madison’s buildings

Here are the 10 school building sites currently in the Groveport Madison school district:

•Asbury Elementary, 10.6 acres, built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Dunloe Elementary, 12.75 acres, built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Glendening Elementary, 16.4 acres, built in 1968 with an addition in 1974 and Middle School South, built in 1975. Total of 40.3 acres for both schools.

•Groveport Elementary, built in 1923 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009 and Middle School Central, built in stages between 1952-56 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Total of 18 acres for both schools.

•Madison Elementary, 13.4 acres, built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969.

•Sedalia Elementary, built in 1969 with an addition in 1974 and Middle School North, built in 1975. Total of 35.8 acres for both schools.

•High School, built in stages between 1966-71 with an addition in 1975. This building will be demolished in the summer of 2018 and be replaced with a new $60 million, 240,000 square foot, 1,500 student high school that will open in the fall of 2018 on the same site.

Much of the land within the district is in a flood plain and current standards from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission recommend sites between 24 and 30 acre. Most of the district’s existing school sites are less than that.


  1. There is no way I would want my younger elementary students in school or on the bus with the middle is idea is ridiculous. What schools in Columbus other than private and charter schools are k-8? Public schools do not have the luxury of choosing who attends like private schools. This will never be successful in our district.


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