Construction of an addition to the Bolton Crossing Elementary School building is beginning, but another construction project may be on the horizon for the site at 2695 Holt Road.
The next phase of South-Western City School District's Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project will include construction of replacement buildings for Brookpark, Pleasant View, Finland and Norton middle schools and improvements to Jackson Middle School and East Franklin Elementary School, which is not currently being used but will be reopened to address increased enrollment.
The main issue now is that the district has decided the new Brookpark building will have to be located at a new site, not built where the school is now, 2803 Southwest Blvd., Superintendent Bill Wise said.
"The amount of space at the existing site is not sufficient to allow us to replace Brookpark on the existing space while continuing to hold classes in the current school building," he said.
"The most likely scenario at this time is to build the new Brookpark school adjacent to Bolton Crossing," Wise said.
The Bolton Crossing site is about 2.6 miles west of Brookpark's current site.
Another potential option is building the new school within the planned Beulah Park development, Wise said.
"We've had some initial discussions with the city about that possibility, but we've made it clear the only way we would be able to do that is if land was donated to the district," he said.
South-Western would not be interested in purchasing land when it already owns property where the new school building could be placed, Wise said.
One potential advantage to relocating Brookpark within the Beulah Park development is that site would ultimately be in a more residential setting once the Beulah Park project is completed, he said.
There are a number of potential options for how the current Brookpark building might be used after the new school is completed, Wise said.
The building could be used as an intermediate school, housing fifth- and sixth-grade students or as swing space to house students when new Grove City and Westland high school buildings are constructed as part of a future third-phase OFCC project, he said.
Another possibility would be reaching agreement with the city for a similar arrangement as was done with the Kingston Center on Kingston Avenue. That former district building now houses the city's parks and recreation department.
"Whatever we end up doing for the new Brookpark building, the current school building won't be available until at least the fall of 2022, so we're still a long way for determining its next use," Wise said.
The other three replacement middle school buildings will be constructed at the sites of the current schools, he said.
With the middle school OFCC project, the only anticipated boundary adjustment would result in a smaller enrollment at Pleasant View with some students being moved to other middle schools to provide a more equable balance of enrollment at each school, Wise said.
The district will seek a no-new-millage bond issue in November 2018 to fund the next phase of the OFCC project.
The state would provide half of the cost of the project and voters would be asked to approve the ballot measure to authorize bond debt to pay the district's share.
If the bond issue is approved, the district would plan to sell bonds in February or March of 2019, and hire an architect, owner agent and construction manager in the fall of 2019.
The design phase would take about 15 to 18 months and construction would take about 22 to 24 months to complete, Wise said.
Construction of all four new middle school buildings and the renovations to Jackson Middle School and East Franklin would take place essentially during the same time period, he said.
Students would continue to attend school at each current middle school building throughout the project, Wise said.
The new schools would open at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.
The four middle schools slated to be replaced "are the oldest buildings we have left in the district," Wise said.
Pleasant View was built in 1959 and the other three middle schools date back to 1962-64, he said.
Bolton Crossing was one of 13 new elementary school buildings that were constructed as part of the first phase of the OFCC project. Improvements also were made to Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools and a new Franklin Heights High School was built.
Rapid growth in enrollment at the elementary school level led to the need for the addition to Bolton Crossing, Wise said.
Because the district believed state enrollment projections were too low, district officials decided to hold on to the East Franklin building in case it was needed, he said.
It is needed and will be taken out of mothballs, Wise said.
The 21,000-square-foot expansion of Bolton Crossing will include 12 additional classrooms, Wise said.
The additional space will be used for preschool classrooms and to handle the continued population growth in the Bolton Crossing attendance area.
The Bolton Crossing addition is being paid for with funds left from the first phase of OFCC projects, which came in on time and under budget.
Foundation work at the site is expected to begin early this month. The expanded space should be completed and ready for use in January 2019, Wise said.
The district has completed a series of 10 meetings -- five with community members and five with staff members at each of the district's middle schools -- to provide an overview of the middle school facilities project and gather feedback about potential school designs, instructional practices and components.
Attendees were asked to give their views about what would be a good fit for the community among five general-design styles.
"What people have indicated is that they want a distinctive design for our new middle school buildings, not just the same one we used for the new elementary schools, to reflect that they serve different student populations," Wise said.
Safety and security also remain top priorities for both parents and staff, he said.
As with its elementary project, South-Western will use design guidelines set in the OFCC's "Educational Facility Planning Guide," as a starting point, said Mike Dingeldein, an architect with SHP Leading Design who is working with the district on the project.
The aim with the middle school buildings will be to create a 21st century learning environment for students, he said.
"We need to look at the new ways of teaching and learning in the 21st century," Dingeldein said. "The trend is to offer more space for teaching and learning.
"There are still the traditional classrooms, but you add large and small pull-out areas so break-out learning activities can also take place in every nook and cranny, and not just in that classroom," he said.