The public has a chance to look at designs for proposed renovations at Westerville South High School, 303 S. Otterbein Ave., during an open house at the school from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.
"The event is an opportunity for families and community members to see the school in its current state and view architectural drawings of how the school will appear after renovations are complete," said Greg Viebranz, the Westerville City School District's executive director of communication and technology.
"Various parts of the buildings will have architectural renderings on display to share the vision for that particular area," he said.
District Treasurer Nicole Marshall said the cost of the project is estimated at $37 million and will be financed from an existing permanent-improvement levy.
South Principal Michael Hinze said he would be giving a presentation during the open house.
"Guests will have the opportunity to walk the building to see images of the design plans in their current spaces and ask questions," he said.
Hinze said the project seeks to address several problems identified by the district's Facilities Master Planning Committee, including an aging infrastructure, current and future curricular demands, and safety and security.
"By addressing the concerns of the committee, we have the opportunity to improve almost every space in the building in meaningful ways; most importantly, larger and better-equipped classrooms, smoother student-traffic patterns, and an upgraded cafeteria and media center," he said. "Overall, the school will be more welcoming and modern yet will continue to honor South's long traditions."
Hinze said officials have been working hard to incorporate student and teacher feedback throughout the planning process, and they're excited to get started on phase one in the spring.
He said the first phase is to convert the auxiliary gym into classroom space and adding a hallway connector to the existing academic wing while adding a new athletics wing on the west side of the building.
That phase is scheduled to start in late spring 2019 and be completed in the winter of the 2020-21 school year.
The full project is expected to take four to five years, Hinze said.
Scott Dorne, the district's executive director of facilities and operations, said the project focuses on infrastructure, classroom sizes, circulation and functional issues while bringing in 21st century design concepts to meet the needs of project-based learning and collaboration for today's schools.
"Classroom spaces will be combined to create new spaces that are more in line with standard classroom sizes of 900 square feet," he said. "In making these changes, the building will lose about 20 classrooms that will need to be accounted for in the new design."
Considering the need to also improve hallway circulation, Dorne said, it was determined that converting the auxiliary gym to two floors of classrooms provided the best way to maintain the building's capacity.
The current competition gym will become the auxiliary gym and a new wing will be added on the northwest corner near the stadium to provide multi-use spaces for physical education and all three athletic seasons.
"There is much more to hear about during the informational meeting and open house on Oct. 29," Dorne said.
Viebranz said school leadership will give three brief presentation about the renovation plans in the auditorium on the half hour.
The first is scheduled at 6:30 p.m., with subsequent presentations at 7 and 7:30 p.m.