The second phase of Grandview Heights Schools' facilities project will involve a complete renovation of the high school -- with emphasis on complete.

Superintendent Andy Culp said the top-to-bottom revamp will "address the deferred maintenance in the high school in its entirety.

"In that sense," he said, "the renovation project has the same overall theme as the construction of our new intermediate/ middle school building."

That includes bringing the high school building up to modern ADA standards; enhancing building safety and security, including a secure vestibule, security cameras and a fire-suppression system; providing seamless access to technology; and creating flexible and collaborative learning spaces, he said.

"We'll be making the high school into a building with form and function that addresses the needs of today's learners, as well as the students of tomorrow," Culp said.

All of that will be accomplished within the current school building, he said.

"We aren't making any additions to the building," Culp said. "The renovation project will involve a reconfiguration of how space is used in the high school."

The high school renovation is expected to begin in June 2021, after the construction of a new grades 4-8 building is completed. The new school building will be located between the high school and the current Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School building.

High school students will attend class in the new building during the renovation, which is scheduled to be completed in December 2022.

At that time, the high school students will return to their school, and students in grades 4-8 will move into their new building.

The third phase of the $55.2 million facilities project will include demolition of the current Edison/Larson building, the kindergarten annex and site restoration.

The decision to renovate the current high school building rather than construct a new building follows the overwhelming desire of the community, Culp said.

"When we began the comprehensive facilities planning process four years ago, the intent was that it would always be community-driven," he said.

"Throughout the process, through the responses we got from our surveys, community meetings, exit tickets and from the general feedback we got talking to people in the community, it was clear that most people felt the high school should not be torn down and built new but should be renovated," Culp said.

About 90% of the respondents to the various community-engagement and survey efforts indicated they were in favor of renovating the high school, treasurer Beth Collier said.

"There's a real emotional connection to Grandview Heights High School as a building in this community," Culp said. "The front facade facing West Third Avenue is an iconic historic facade -- a landmark in Grandview.

"As evidence to the importance of the architecture, the look of the new 4-8 building's facade will honor the high school facade," he said.

The 2016 assessment of the district's four buildings, including the kindergarten annex, completed in 2016 by Harrison Planning Group estimated a total cost of $44 million to complete all needed renovations, Collier said.

The total was about $19 million for the high school, she said.

Adding in 5% for inflation since that time would boost the revised total to about $22 million or $23 million, Collier said.

"And it would be another 18 months before the high school project would begin, so that total would be even higher by June 2021," she said.

The high school renovation will take up about half of the cost of the $55.2 million facilities project, Collier said.

The renovation project will allow the district to upgrade the basic systems in the building, "everything from lighting and heating and cooling to electrical to the elevator to safety and security and ADA," Culp said.

Some classrooms in the building will be expanded "to make them more commiserate" with the current standards for today's classrooms, he said.

Smaller classrooms that are around 650 square feet will be expanded to approach the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission's standard of 850 to 900 square feet, Culp said.

"Overall, there will be no loss of classroom space or number of classrooms," he said.

The second-floor media center will be reconfigured so that its entrance opens up toward the west hall rather than the north hall, making the space more functional for student use, Culp said. The center also will offer more space for meetings and collaborative work.

Although the high school's band room won't be expanded, there will be several additions to the instrumental music area, including an independent entrance and exit from the band room to outside, expanded space for instrument storage and library across from the band room, and places where individual students or instrument groups can work separately, he said.

"We've worked with each department to come up with a plan to create flexible learning areas that will meet the programming needs of that department," Culp said. "So we've planned the renovation project in part by looking through each of those lenses -- the math department lens, the science department lens, the media center lens, the instrumental music lens, and so on."

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