By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools’ new $53 million, 240,000 square foot high school will open this fall and that means it is time for Phase 2 of the construction project to begin.
Phase 2 starts with the demolition of the existing 50-year-old high school, which will begin in mid- to -late June when crews disconnect utilities and start removal of select materials inside the old school, according to Groveport Madison officials.
“The goal is to recycle and reuse as much of the building materials as possible,” said Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner.
Starting in August, major structural demolition will begin at the north side of the school, working towards the south.
“This process will take two to three weeks as heavy equipment will break apart the building piece by piece, leaving behind large piles of debris,” said Warner.
Those materials will be sorted on site. Concrete from the floors and walls can be crushed, hauled off and used as “recycled gravel” on other construction sites. Metal materials will be taken to a recycling facility. Trash and debris will be taken to an approved landfill. Sorting and hauling is scheduled to be completed by the end of August before the start of school this fall. Then underground stormwater infrastructure will be installed to serve the new parking lots and entrance roads. The construction of new roadways and parking lots will follow.
Cruiser alumni have been asking if they can pick up bricks from the old school to have as a momento of the building.
Warner said the demolition contractor will place bricks at a location away from the demolition activities.
“Currently, that location will be at the southeast corner of the existing parking lot along South Hamilton Road,” said Warner. “The pile will have brick and block with jagged edges and potentially small pieces of wire, metal or other sharp objects. Visitors should use caution when sorting through the pile for the ‘perfect brick.’”
Warner said once demolition begins, the construction team will re-evaluate this location for the brick pile to make sure it is the safest place. They will also coordinate with the district so the public can be notified of the dates when bricks can be available. He said it is important visitors stay in the designated area only and not inside demotion fencing or near heavy equipment operations in pursuit of bricks.
Parking, softball fields, tennis courts
District officials said Phase 2 will be completed at the end of 2018 and the softball fields and tennis courts, parking lots, and roadways will start to take shape in October and November.
“Those inside the new high school will have a front row seat to all the activities this fall, especially those in second floor classrooms and offices along the east front elevation,” said Warner.
The school will have several parking lots. According to the contractors, the north parking lot will have 169 spaces, the east lot 158 spaces, the visitor’s lot 20 spaces, the bus loop event parking area 171 spaces, the west lot 44 spaces, and the maintenance lot 3 spaces. An additional 80 spaces was added to the District Service Center property, adjacent to the north end of the football field.
Five tennis courts will be built at the north end of the school. The tennis courts will not have lighting for night play.
Two softball fields will be located on the northeast corner of the school property.
“To put this into perspective, rightfield will be where the current front door to the old bus garage building is,” said Warner. “The second softball field will be placed further to the east and will be visible to those traveling on South Hamilton Road.”
The softball fields will have synthetic turf infields and natural grass outfields.
Landscaping and Cruiser statue
Warner said landscaping for the new high school will be put in this fall just before the cool fall weather moves in. After roads, lots and fields are placed, topsoil will be spread and landscaping can begin. Across the total project, the landscaping contractor will install approximately 70 new trees, 540 shrubs and 1,730 perennials.
Warner said Phase 2 will include the relocation of the Cruiser statue that was moved from in front of Cruiser Stadium into secure storage at the beginning of the construction project.
“Cruiser will be placed on a new foundation, situated just outside the main entrance to the new high school, for all to see,” said Warner. “The refurbished Victory Bell will also be placed on it’s new pedestal base, just outside Cruiser Stadium. It has been tuned up and will be ready for a full season of victories.”
Intersection/traffic signal upgrade
Separate from the new high school building project is another planned improvement. The traffic signal and intersection at South Hamilton Road and Firehouse Lane at Groveport Madison High School will be upgraded as the city of Groveport and the school district received an Ohio Public Works Commission grant to help fund the improvements.
“The project will start this fall with bidding and the actual construction will start early next year,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall.
The improvements are expected to be completed by December 2019.
According to the city of Groveport, the estimated total construction cost for the project is $575,999.
The OPWC grant is for $316,223. There is a no-interest loan for $120,176. Hall said the city will fund $57,600 plus the $120,176 loan for the project. Groveport Madison Schools will fund $62,000 of the project. The Madison Township Fire Department will contribute $20,000 toward a traffic pre-emption system.
The upgrades include: conversion of the traffic signal to a mast arm signal (sized for possible future left turn lane improvements if needed); crosswalk and crossing notification system for pedestrians having to wait in the center aisle of the intersection; and a sidewalk on the east side of South Hamilton Road/State Route 317 from the crosswalk to the COTA stop.
New high school dedication ceremony
The dedication ceremony for the new Groveport Madison High School will be Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. Plans for the ceremony are being finalized, but district officials said the planning includes student input. There will be a ribbon cutting, speeches, and a presentation of the building key (a plaque) to the principal. There will also be a display of the contents for a time capsule that will be placed at a later date.