In 2015, Dublin City School District officials began discussions around the need to develop a master plan to lay out for our community how many additional schools we will need to construct in the future as well as the projected maintenance needs at existing schools.

At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, a Master Plan committee consisting of Dublin Board of Education members, administrators, and private consultants conducted several months of data collection and research before unveiling four options for our community to consider.

After a series of public meetings designed to collect feedback in spring 2016, the committee recommended the implementation of what was then known as Option D.

That plan, to be put into action over the next 10 years, includes building a preschool/elementary combination building for elementary school No. 13, the construction of elementary School No. 14 (K-8 design configuration), construction of a fifth middle school (K-8 design configuration), non-traditional high school space, and additions to Dublin Jerome and Dublin Scioto.

On April 7, we closed on the former Verizon building on Emerald Parkway that will be used as non-traditional high school space.

It was the first step toward implementing the recommendations of the Master Planning Committee.

What do we mean by non-traditional high school space?

We already have three traditional high schools doing a tremendous job of preparing our students for the worlds of work and higher education.

We envision the former Verizon facility becoming a career exploration center for our high school students, featuring hands-on courses, access to professionals in their respective fields and immersion in career oriented subject matter.

Career exploration when already enrolled in a college or university can be very expensive.

When majors are changed and life directions altered, it can often mean more time in school and more expense.

Our career exploration programs, open to students at all three of our high schools, will help students decide what they are interested in as possible careers, and just as importantly, what they are not interested in pursuing.

We are hopeful we will have some programming in our new facility this fall.

There are some zoning code issues to be worked through over the next several months.

One point I would like to emphasize, is the former Verizon building is not a fourth high school.

It is an alternative to a fourth high school.

The space will be open to students from all three of our current high schools.

By obtaining this non-traditional space, we are able to avoid the cost of constructing a fourth high school estimated at between $70 million to $95-million.

The cost of acquiring 75-90 acres of land needed to build a high school and the fixed costs of about $3-million per year to operate a fourth high school would have been in addition to the construction expenditure.

The $9.4-million purchase price for the Verizon building combined with renovation costs represent a significant savings for our taxpayers while providing our students with additional opportunities.

The new building will also allow us to minimize future high school redistricting.

Work has begun on identifying the renovations that will be needed to get the building ready for students.

The process of preparing the facility for students will be led by our Business Department.

The process of determining what types of courses we will offer in the facility will be collaborative and involve teachers, administrators, and parents.

A name for the facility will be selected as the programming for students takes shape.

Dublin City School District Superintendent Todd Hoadley, Ph.D., submitted the From the Superintendent's Desk column.