The Groveport Madison community will get its first glimpse inside the new high school during a dedication ceremony and open house Wednesday, Aug. 29.

The dedication ceremony begins at 7 p.m. and will be followed by an open house that lasts until 9 p.m.

Jeff Warner, the district's director of communications and community relations, said this is Groveport Madison's first new building in almost 50 years.

Often, he said, a high school is considered a "centerpiece of most communities."

"We want to celebrate the building's opening and host a communitywide open house so that everyone can see how their investment has been used to create a very positive learning environment for our students," Warner said.

New Superintendent Garilee Ogden will welcome everyone to the open house and recognize staff, students, local officials and building "partners" who have been instrumental in the construction of the new high school.

Ogden said everyone is excited about opening the new high school and the district is making sure that all the "bugs are worked out " before the start of classes Sept. 4.

"I am really excited for the opportunity for our kids," she said.

Ogden said some students already are using the building for athletics, band and other activities that start before school opens.

"Just to see the smiles on their faces and the pride they have -- that is really a result of the community believing in the kids," she said. "We've got districts from all over the state wanting to see our building and it's really an honor to be in Groveport at this time of opening this new building."

The dedication ceremony will include a performance by the high school band, recognition of staff members and an official ribbon-cutting.

Building amenities

The 240,000-square-foot high school includes 52 academic classrooms that are about 820 square feet each; six science labs with 12 classrooms; 12 flexible extended learning areas; three art rooms with flexible seating and work areas and a room for ceramics instruction; one large band room and a large choir room; six music practice rooms; storage rooms for music equipment and clothing; a library/media center with a multimedia production room; and specialized learning areas which include a lecture hall, career technical lab, a business/computer lab, production lab, a child-development lab, a life-skills lab, a business classroom and equipped special-needs classrooms.

The new auditorium and drama department features a seating area for 600; an orchestra pit with wheelchair lift; a scene shop and dressing rooms; a drama classroom; acoustic panels and a sound, lighting and projection-control center.

The physical-education and athletics areas contain a 1,500-seat competition gymnasium with scoreboards; an auxiliary gym; a wrestling room; athletics/physical education locker rooms; and a weight room.

The completely air-conditioned building has a high-efficiency mechanical system, central-locking doors with "instantaneous lock-down capability," security cameras with a monitoring system, security vestibules with two-way communication and a main office with a secure entrance.

Warner said district officials are "very proud" that the $61 million project was completed on time and more than $2 million under budget. Ogden called the new high school a "flagship icon in the community."

"I think what the community has done is provide such an incredible learning platform for kids that I really hope that the community sees it as a center to bring everyone together -- not just for educational experiences for kids during daytime hours, but for an opportunity for us to come together in different community events and collaborate and really see it as a place where community can come together to do various things to improve opportunities for everyone," she said.

"Eventually, we have to address other building needs across the district and I think this building is going to be a springboard for that so that we can see the positive impact it has on student learning."