The modular space that will house Northridge Intermediate School in the fall has been secured, Superintendent John Shepard announced at last Monday's school board meeting.

The modular space that will house Northridge Intermediate School in the fall has been secured, Superintendent John Shepard announced at last Monday's school board meeting.

The district ordered a roughly 17,400 square foot building from Mod Space of Gahanna, with some site work already under way.

When school is out May 30, crews will immediately begin setting up piers to dock the structure, he said.

Shepard said he is confident the temporary space will be open for teachers to start working in their classrooms by Aug. 1, and the fourth- and fifth-grade students district-wide who will be housed there will be able to tour the facility at an open house before school begins.

The structure is a self-contained building, Shepard said. It includes a large community/multi-purpose room (1,488 square feet) for lunch and some specials; 11 classrooms he said are larger than any of the existing classrooms in various buildings; one computer lab; a teacher's lounge/workroom and a principal's office.

Students will only leave the building to go to the middle school for tornado drills, as well as for specials like phys-ed and music. Shepard assured parents at the meeting that classes will be escorted to and from those specials by teachers, just as they are now.

"Of course there will be no vehicular traffic in that area, between the two buildings," he said. "That area will be closed off."

Shepard said he has spent time talking with current third- and fourth-graders who will be learning in the modular unit next fall.

"Their questions are about food and what kind of recess they will have," he said. The recess/play area plans are still being developed, but Shepard said he assured students they will continue to have recess time as they always have.

"I really applaud those students," Shepard said. "Sometimes we don't give them credit for the level of maturity they have They're ready and eager and, I think, are welcoming the change."

He said Regina Gladden, head custodian at Hartford Elementary, is helping to coordinate the move district-wide and it is "right on schedule."

Treasurer Felicia Drummey said the annual lease payment for the unit is $123,288 for four years. She said that payment amount will be offset by a reduction in operating expenses with the closure of the Hartford and Homer buildings. Those closures impact the purchased services category alone of the district's budget with a reduction of $58,000 at Hartford and $43,000 at Homer, with custodial and maintenance supply savings of $16,790 and other reductions in the supply budget.

"The lease payment and the reduced expenses make it almost a wash," Drummey said.

The district will also pay a one-time cost of about $348,000 for site improvement and utility expenses.