Drivers who want to take one last spin on the Fairview Avenue turnaround have until Monday, Jan. 27.

The turnaround will be closed to public traffic that day, when the Grandview Heights Schools facilities project begins.

The project ultimately could result in Fairview Avenue being reopened to through traffic, reconnecting with itself at First Avenue -- but that would not occur until after construction of a new grade 4-8 building and renovations to the high school are complete, officials said.

"We're still a long way from having to make that decision," Grandview Heights Mayor Greta Kearns said.

A timetable for starting the process of considering the issue still is to be determined, but may begin later this year, she said.

Motorists who use the turnaround will have to use alternatives, Grandview Heights Schools Superintendent Andy Culp said.

"Parents will no longer be able to drop their children off on Fairview south of West Third once the construction fencing goes up on Jan. 27," he said. "The drop-offs should be made on the Oakland Avenue side instead."

The turnaround will be closed, but the street will remain open for those who live there, Culp said.

The first phase of the $55.2 million facilities project will involve the construction of the new 4-8 building in the area between the existing Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School and the high school. Construction of the new school is expected to take about 18 months.

The second phase will include a major renovation of the high school building. During the renovation, high school students will attend class in the new school building and students in grades 4-8 will continue to attend class in the current Edison/Larson building.

High schools students will move back into the renovated high school when work is completed in December 2022, and Edison/Larson students will move into their new building.

During the third and final phase, the Edison/Larson and kindergarten annex buildings will be demolished and site restoration will take place. The third phase will begin in December 2022 and last until June 2023.

Three potential site-plan designs have been developed, Culp said.

In each design, the playground off Fairview will be relocated to the west side of the site near Oakland Avenue.

The baseline site plan would maintain Fairview as a dead-end roadway and install parking and a multipurpose field in the area that now includes the playground and the kindergarten annex building.

"That's the simplest, least costly, but still high-quality site plan, and it's the one we would go with today if we were starting phase three," Culp said. "It would require no city support."

Two other site plans have been proposed, and each would require some level of financial support from the city, he said.

Both would involve additional trees, landscaping and sidewalks and, potentially, an outdoor learning space and a city-built community park, Culp said.

A community park could be an option but not the only public use that could be considered, Kearns said.

The third and most expansive site plan would include the opening of Fairview Avenue to traffic between First and Third avenues.

The question of whether Fairview should be extended "is an open issue," Kearns said.

"It would be our decision whether to reopen Fairview and we would pay for it, but it's a decision we would make in consultation with the school district and the community," she said.

A number of issues would be considered in determining whether Fairview should be reopened, Kearns said.

The school sites are part an area identified as one of three "civic hubs" in the Civic Space and Places adopted by the city in 2019, she said.

The urban-design principles identified for the Education and Community Hub included reinforcing and enhancing Oakland and Fairview avenues as key pedestrian connectors and ensuring safe traffic and pedestrian flow at the intersections of Third and First avenues with Oakland and Fairview.

"One of the impacts opening Fairview would no doubt have is reducing some of the traffic on other streets," Kearns said.

If Fairview were opened, it would give motorists another option to take them from First to Third avenues, she said.

"Some people who now drive down Oakland or Broadview would possibly take Fairview instead," Kearns said.

The speed humps on Broadview and chicanes on Oakland were installed at least in part because of the additional traffic resulting from Fairview -- the street between them -- being closed to through traffic, she said.

"No matter what we may ultimately decide to do with Fairview, nothing will be done for at least three years until after the school construction work is done," Kearns said.

From the school district's standpoint, "our main concern is making sure to protect the safety of our students," Culp said.

Since the playground now on Fairview will be shifted toward Oakland Avenue, that element would not be a hindrance to reopening Fairview, he said.

When the fencing goes up, a portion of the playground area now used by Edison/Larson students and other children from the community will be blocked, including the basketball court, Culp said.

The grassy area located east of the Edison/Larson building, north of the kindergarten annex and incorporating a portion of the playground area will be used as the staging area for the facilities project, he said.

The first-phase construction work will result in the elimination of some parking, including the parking lot west of the high school gym off Oakland and a portion of the parking lot west of the Edison/Larson building, Culp said.

"There's always some disruption that will occur when you have a project like this," he said.

The district will continue to update its facility planning tab on its website, ghcsd.org, Culp said.

Monthly "hard hat" video updates will be offered along with time-lapse video of the 4-8 building construction and newsletters, he said.

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