Construction updates to Canal Winchester High School are more than halfway complete, and the school is on track to open in August, according to Superintendent James Sotlar.

"Everything the crews are working on now is under roof, so they're able to work through the winter, which means the school should open on Aug. 15," Sotlar said.

State funds -- $19.6 million -- will pay for the bulk of the $27.1 million project, which will add 48,000 square feet to the school. That includes a new media center, an auxiliary gym, second-floor bathrooms, an expanded cafeteria and a second-floor walkway leading to the west end of the building.

According to Sotlar, the project also will help to modernize the school's learning environment, in large part by opening the floor plan, making the hallways less crowded and allowing for more group-learning sessions.

"With the expansions and renovations at the high school, our students will have many new opportunities when it comes to pathways and course offerings," said Matt Krueger, school board president. "The space allows the district to be more creative with classrooms and student engagement. It will also allow opportunities for the community with new shared spaces for meetings and events."

The new media center is about 90% complete, according to Sotlar. The old media center will be converted into the school office; that work is expected to be completed before May.

Much of the auxiliary gym is complete, Sotlar said. Although the wood flooring of the gym has yet to be laid, he said, he thinks it will be completed within the next two months. For school board member Kevin Butler, the renovated CWHS slated to open fully for next school year represents the push the district has been making to create an overall better experience for students.

"The new facilities will offer our students a variety of new opportunities for learning that meet their expanding needs," Butler said. "Over the last few years, the district has invested in upgrading our technology and facilities. I believe investing in new technology, upgrading safety and constructing new 21st-century flexible learning spaces will truly empower all our students for success."