Dominion Middle School's transition to the former North High School building, 100 Arcadia Ave., is moving forward as planned, according to school leaders -- and many are ready to take over the bigger, renovated structure.
Dominion principal Dorothy Flanagan said a meeting was held Feb. 4 at the school to provide information to the community about the move, which originally was planned for this winter but now will take place over the summer.
"Our steering committee decided based on feedback we wanted to share information about the transition," she said.
Flanagan said Columbus City Schools has invested close to $15 million to renovate the old North High School, including a new roof, historically appropriate windows and preservation of historical elements in the nearly century-old building.
Flanagan said new bleachers will be added in the gym, the front office will be reconfigured and elements for students, such as a social/emotional learning lab and a makerspace, will be installed.
The current Dominion has a makerspace -- with video-production equipment, sewing machines and a 3D printer to encourage creativity -- but it's housed in the library, which also occasionally is used as a classroom.
Crowded conditions at the current school are a primary reason for the move, officials have said, but the Arcadia Avenue building will offer more elbow room and keep the current elementary school feeder pathway intact -- both concerns that have been voiced by parents.
Flanagan said outdoor construction started in January and interior work began in February. She said the bulk of the construction should be done by August, with some small projects left over, but nothing that would impact students or staff when school begins that month.
"We're all very excited," she said.
She said the transition is being guided by the steering committee, made up of community members, district leaders, students and others, which meets once a month.
Flanagan said the committee has focused on preserving the historic legacy of North High School and Dominion, while bringing a modern vision to the space.
She said part of this focus will be reflected in Dominion's branding changes -- specifically, the addition of maroon to the school's colors and the new polar bear mascot to honor the legacy of the former high school.
"We are also planning some memorialization activities," she said.
Laura Zimmerman, a member of the steering committee and a 1972 graduate of North High School, said graduates of the former school are enthusiastic about passing down the school's legacy to Dominion students and are hoping to reach out to them.
"There are two long-term schools whose legacy will be joined," she said.