Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools leaders want to talk about Lincoln High School, 140 S. Hamilton Road -- specifically, how it is aging.
The Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools will hold a series of "Community Conversations" to gather ideas from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, 9 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 23, and 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 30 at Clark Hall, 380 Granville St.
"We are excited to meet with our community to talk about how we might address our aging high school facility," said Steve Barrett, district superintendent. "We expect these conversations to be open, exciting and engaging. We are interested in everyone's ideas and perspectives, and we are really looking forward to hearing from as many people as possible."
Barrett said parts of the high school are close to 100 years old, and the building has had a series of modifications and additions.
The district would like to enhance security, safety and efficiency and relieve congestion in common areas when students move between classes, he said.
A larger goal involves "creating a 21st-century learning environment with modern and innovative learning spaces that allow for collaborative learning, creative exploration and critical thinking," Barrett said.
Jill Elliott, assistant superintendent, said she looks forward to hearing different perspectives and exploring ideas.
"We're sure there will be ideas shared that we haven't even thought about, so we're looking forward to discussing a wide range of high school solution possibilities," she said. "There is a rich history of support for our schools, especially for our high school, and we encourage our community members to join us on this journey as we make plans that will enhance both the facility and learning experience for our students."
Elliott said the conversations would be interactive and collaborative and would allow all participants to contribute.
Judy Hengstebeck, the district's communications coordinator, said each session would begin with a brief presentation led by Barrett, who will share a snapshot of the district's current situation and some of the parameters that need to be considered when thinking about high school solutions.
She said he would discuss such factors as timing, funding and enrollment projections.
After Barrett's presentation, community members will participate in small-group exercises.
Hengstebeck said all ideas will be collected by a leader and brought to the full group.
After a review of the ideas, each solution's benefits and tradeoffs will be discussed, first by a second meeting of small groups and then by a full-group discussion Elliott will lead.
Hinda Mitchell, president of Inspire PR Group, will moderate the conversations.
Mitchell is a district resident and parent of two Lincoln graduates. She will facilitate the discussions so district leaders and administrators can be active participants and focus on listening to the community.
In May 2018, voters supported a bond issue and operating levy that directly funds phase one of the district's Master Facilities Plan. In community discussions leading up to that levy, Hengstebeck said, it became clear the community was interested in exploring solutions to address the needs at Lincoln High School.
Along with plans to build a new Lincoln Elementary School and complete renovations to classrooms, media centers and student restrooms, phase one also includes engaging the community about all possibilities available to address the high school's needs.
To reserve a spot at one of the conversations, register at tinyurl.com/signupcommunity.