Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools officials will break ground for the new Lincoln Elementary School beginning at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, in the gym at Gahanna Middle School South, 349 Shady Spring Drive.

"After months of careful planning, we are excited to begin the construction of our new Lincoln Elementary," said Steve Barrett, district superintendent. "We are extremely grateful to our Gahanna-Jefferson voters who supported the bond issue of 2018, enabling us to build this school for our community."

Judy Hengstebeck, the district's communications coordinator, said the last elementary building to open in the district was Blacklick Elementary School, which opened in August 1994.

"It celebrated its 25th anniversary this past August," she said.

In May 2018, voters approved a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill continuing (permanent) operating levy, for a total of 5.5 mills, that are financing the new elementary school being built on Helmbright Drive to replace Lincoln Elementary School.

In addition to the new elementary school, the bond is covering the cost of furniture replacement projects, as well as the renovations of restrooms, media centers and classrooms in K-8 buildings.

"It was an impressive process as our architects and builders met with teachers, staff, administrators, parents, students and community members to design not only a facility that meets the educational needs of our staff and students but is a source of pride for the entire Gahanna-Jefferson family," Barrett said.

"We look forward to watching our building take shape, and can't wait for the school to open for the first day of school in August 2021," he said.

Hengstebeck said construction fencing will go up Feb. 10, and the district wants to hold the groundbreaking before any work begins.

She said the district hopes to have as many Lincoln Elementary School students, families, teachers and staff, as well as other community members, as possible at the groundbreaking.

"We want the Lincoln Elementary students to be active participants in the ceremony, with singing and helping out with the ceremonial first dig," she said. "We also hope to have some Lincoln Elementary Boy Scouts present the colors."

Before the ceremonial first dig, Hengstebeck said, plans call for Lincoln Elementary students to paint the spade part of the shovel with the Gahanna schools' pride images, similar to what the district's students do for the city's snowplows.

In addition to participation by Barrett, Lincoln Elementary School principal Claire Giardino and Gahanna school board president Beryl Brown Piccolantonio are scheduled to speak.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla