Olentangy held a grand opening Sunday for its 13th elementary school.

Olentangy held a grand opening Sunday for its 13th elementary school.

Freedom Trail, 6743 Bale Kenyon Road, is expected to have about 606 students this year, district spokesperson Karen Truett said.

"The numbers aren't clear until you see which students attend the first several days of school," Truett said. "People don't always notify us if they move out of the district."

Steve Sargent, who's been with the district since 2000, is Freedom Trail's principal.

"I absolutely love my job as a principal!" Sargent told ThisWeek in an e-mail. "It is difficult to express the excitement I am feeling in being the first principal of Freedom Trail Elementary. It is an honor and a privilege to work with such an outstanding staff and the fantastic students and parents who make up the Olentangy community. I am looking forward to the new school year, especially the enthusiasm that a new year brings and the renewed commitment to hard work and high expectations."

The 72,803 square-foot building cost $8.7-million to date to construct, said Truett.

Engineering and architectural design costs were an additional $396,816, she said.

Furnishing the new building with such items as desks and chairs, bookshelves, library books and computers cost $847,141.

In general, the district's elementary schools have 45 staff members -- 35 teachers and 10 classified staff, such as secretaries and custodial, maintenance and food services employees.

Only about 20 percent of the employees at a new elementary are new to the district, Truett said. Each new building reduces the number of students at some other buildings, freeing up teachers for the new building.

Freedom Trail is a replication of other Olentangy elementary schools, she said. The district saves funds by not changing the design for each building. It has the same energy-saving components as the district's newer buildings, including lighting, lighting controls, occupancy sensors, HVAC monitoring, HVAC controls, and energy-efficient motors. Its student capacity is 650.

The building was designed by Fanning-Howey Associates. Robertson Construction Services was the general contractor for construction of the building.

Funding for the building came from a $89.8-million bond approved by voters in March 2008. That issue also included a 7.9-mill operating levy.

The 2008 bond includes other projects such as constructing the Berkshire Bus Compound, which opened in February 2009; Cheshire Elementary School (elementary 14), which will open in 2010-11; Berkshire Middle School, which will open in 2011-12; and the renovations and expansion of Olentangy High School which will be complete in December.