The Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools will add a science program and an educational opportunity for teachers to its offerings in the Gahanna-Jefferson School District when Clark Hall opens.

The Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools will add a science program and an educational opportunity for teachers to its offerings in the Gahanna-Jefferson School District when Clark Hall opens.

"We're enthusiastic about where we're going," Eastland-Fairfield Superintendent Bonnie Hopkins said.

The Eastland-Fairfield school board last week unanimously approved an agreement with Gahanna-Jefferson to occupy 8,403 square feet of space in G-J's new high school building. Clark Hall will be built on 6.8 acres at Hamilton Road and Granville Street. Original plans called for the 50,000-square-foot building to have educational space on the second and third floors and retail space on the first floor.

Since those original plans were made, Eastland-Fairfield and another higher-education entity have expressed interest in obtaining space on the building's first floor.

Hopkins said Eastland-Fairfield already has two programs at Gahanna Lincoln High School: an international business program and an architecture program. She said the international business program would remain in the high school, but the architecture program, which, she said, "truly needs a facelift," will be moved into the new space at Clark Hall.

"We hope students can become involved in the project as well, helping to design their space," she said.

A new program, called bioscience, also could be added to the Clark Hall space, along with a program called "Teacher Pathways," which would give students teaching experience. Because a postsecondary entity also is looking at Clark Hall space, Hopkins said, Eastland-Fairfield could work with the other entity on the teaching program as well.

Gahanna-Jefferson officials have not yet named the other entity looking at space on the first floor of Clark Hall.

Other space could be reserved for an expansion of one of the three programs in the building, or it could be used for another program. Hopkins said they like to average 24 juniors and 24 seniors in each of their programs, which are offered to students in the entire Eastland-Fairfield district.

Initially, Eastland-Fairfield had talked about working with Gahanna-Jefferson to occupy some of the educational space on the second and third floors of Clark Hall. Revenue generated from retail leases was expected to help pay for part of Clark Hall's construction.

Because Eastland-Fairfield does not "lease" space, Hopkins said, the district will pay Gahanna-Jefferson $1,251,472 and agree to finish the space at its own cost. She said that would help make up for lease revenue G-J would have received from any retail establishments.

"It certainly will be to their advantage because they will be able to recover what would have been in that revenue stream," Hopkins said.

Gahanna-Jefferson is expected to contract with a developer to build two more facilities on the site, both of which also would produce revenue for the district through a lease.

Hopkins said the plans for Clark Hall, which encourages different types of teaching and learning, is similar to Eastland-Fairfield's philosophies.

"It's more in line with the way we offer career and technical education," she said.

Gahanna-Jefferson officials have said technology would be a focus in Clark Hall and that the building would have more open spaces for students, with nontraditional classrooms where students could gather and work at their own pace.

The district is estimating it would cost $13- to $14-million to build Clark Hall.

lwince@thisweeknews.com