Even though he still has a lot of work to do based on a check-off list in his office, Olentangy Orange High School Principal Todd Meyer can't wait for students to begin pouring through the front doors of the new high school.

Even though he still has a lot of work to do based on a check-off list in his office, Olentangy Orange High School Principal Todd Meyer can't wait for students to begin pouring through the front doors of the new high school.

Classes will begin Aug. 20.

Meyer left Central High School in Westerville last year to become the principal of Olentangy Orange, which was then under construction. He worked at Liberty High School until the staff could move into the Orange building on July 1.

The floors are still squeaky clean and the school store -- known as Fort Orange -- needs to be stocked, but most of the teachers are in the building and working in their rooms.

"We finished 98 percent of the hiring by mid-April," said Meyer. "It is critical to get the staff on board early."

The school will have 63 teachers and administrators, plus 87 aides and support staff members.

Meyer often begins his day at 5 a.m. at the district's third high school, on Orange Road.

He and his secretary, Mary Ann Nicholson, sign off on every shipment delivered to the holding room behind the auditorium stage.

"I'm up to my eyeballs in packing slips," Nicholson said.

Moving down the hall toward the library, Meyer's long strides from one end of the building to the other seem to be made with little effort.

"I am used to walking fast," he said.

The building footprint, which is identical to the other two high schools, was reversed to fit on the site. The building covers 305,000 square feet.

It has a 1,600-student capacity, but when school begins only the ninth, 10th and 11th grade students will arrive.

The seniors will finish out their high school careers where they began, at Liberty or Olentangy high schools.

"We will be starting with about 800 students," said Meyer. "At last count it was 793."

Meyer met several of his students during the time he was at Liberty, and he is eager to get to know them better and have them know him.

This is the second time he has opened a new high school. He was principal at Central High School when it opened the same year as Liberty High School.

The first time around, he said, he experienced heart palpitations. This time he said it was easier because he knew what to expect.

A celebration and open house will be held at the new high school at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 to give the community a look at the school.

A parade of 57 student ambassadors, the staff and marching band will begin at Olentangy Orange Middle School and weave its way down the access road to the east entrance of the new high school, stopping at the flag pole for the national anthem.

A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 3 p.m.

"We are praying for no rain," Meyer said.

Composer Michael Douce will be in the auditorium, where the choir will perform.

Junior Ben Anderson will be recognized for designing the winning logo of the Orange Pioneer, and Fort Orange also will be open.

Sixth-grade students through juniors voted on the school logo and the school shop name.

"I am a proponent of ownership in the building," Meyer said, explaining how the contests were open to everyone.

While the parade, dedication ceremonies and building tour are free, Meyer said, the Olentangy Orange High School Athletic Boosters will host a dinner and silent auction between 4 and 8 p.m.

Pre-event tickets will be $8 each or $7 each for three or more, according to the district Web site. The silent auction will include items from more than 75 local businesses.

Participating will be the staff, coaches, athletes, the Orange Township Fire Department, the Marching Pioneers marching band, the choir and the "Flame Brain" band.

A disc jockey will be in the auction area. Games and a 3-point contest also will be held.

Roger Bartz, chairman of the Olentangy Orange Athletic Boosters Kick-Off Event, may be contacted by e-mail at sbartz@insight. rr.com.