The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison district

Design work could start this fall for new high school

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Groveport Madison Local School District officials are laying the groundwork for what they hope will be a successful high school construction project.

Representatives from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, the district's partner in the construction project, presented possible timeline scenarios to the school board at its May 28 meeting.

OSFC representatives Eu-gene Chipiga and Kim Magovac provided school board members and administrators with a project overview and a copy of a document outlining the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program.

Once the board approves an agreement with the OSFC, the process will start to secure the state's share of funding for the construction.

The board is scheduled to vote on the agreement June 11, after ThisWeek's press deadline.

According to Chipiga, the agreement will serve as a high-level master plan for all segments of the project, which could ultimately include not just the high school facilities, but also three new middle schools and five new elementary schools, if those other projects are approved by voters in the future.

"We've decided to do segmentation, starting with high school building," Chipiga said. "The complete master plan includes all schools; this is what that package is about. We just have to justify how we build the new schools."

Dividing the overall plan into segments allows the district to continue to have the same level of access to state co-funding in the future as it currently has for the high school project -- in this case, 53 percent of construction costs for the new high school will be paid by the state.

Once the Classroom Facilities Assistance Program has been agreed to, Magovac will act as the OSFC project manager, helping the district to choose an architect and then a construction company. The district and the OSFC will have two representatives each on the selection committee.

District Treasurer Tony Swartz said he anticipates the bonds for the local funding will be available by September, by which time the state funds will also have been processed.

Chipiga said if the district gets its funding in place by September, a Request for Proposal process for the architect and construction has been completed, design work should begin this fall.

"For a school this size, I'd say design could take 14 to 18 months before we begin construction," Chipiga said.

When asked if there is a possibility of shortening the timeline for this phase of the project, he said the district could opt to have very low participation in the design phase, but that would also be reflected in the final product.

"Even if we start design this fall and it only takes 12 months, do you want to start construction in the fall and winter?" Chipiga asked.

School board members agreed that beginning construction at that time of the year would not be optimal.

"We know breaking ground in the fall is not a good idea," board member Nancy Gillespie said. "But I don't think we're out of the ballpark of three years to complete this, are we?"

District officials agreed to try to finalize all legal and financial agreements over the summer in order to meet the OSFC deadlines and begin the design process in fall.

At that time, according to Superintendent Bruce Hoover, work groups made up of staff members and residents will participate in the design process.

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