Although the 2019-20 school year and most of life's other activities have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the largest facilities upgrade in Upper Arlington Schools' history has continued undeterred.
In April 2019, the district launched $235 million in projects to rebuild and renovate the high school and five elementary buildings.
According to district officials, those projects remain on budget and on schedule, despite a statewide shutdown due to the pandemic.
That's because Gov. Mike DeWine and state leaders deemed the work to be an essential service that was permitted to continue.
The reconstruction of Upper Arlington High School and Barrington and Windermere elementary schools is ongoing, as are projects to substantially renovate Greensview and Tremont elementary schools.
"Construction continues at all five sites at this time," said Chris Potts, the district's chief operating officer. "Each of our contractors has implemented safety measures and is following the suggested guidelines for essential workers, like temperature checks, hand-washing stations and social distancing."
Major renovations to Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School soon will launch, and the renovated Greensview, Tremont and Wickliffe buildings are expected to be ready for the scheduled start of the 2020-21 school year.
The new high school and Windermere buildings, as well as the renovated Barrington building, are scheduled to be completed and open for students by the start of next academic year in 2021.
"All the projects are on budget and, at this time, our timeline remains the same," Potts said. "We will continue to monitor our schedules as we work together through this pandemic."
Potts said the pandemic ha not caused any significant delays to the projects.
"Every day is a new milestone as progress is made on all projects," he said.
"Specifically, at the high school, it was exciting to see the precast walls of the auditorium be lifted into place," Potts said. "Now that we know students will not be returning to our school buildings this spring, we are working with our contractors to provide them access to areas of the buildings sooner than they had anticipated. This will help keep our projects on schedule in the event of any unforeseen events."
Work on the six buildings, which on average, are more than 60 years old, is being funded by a 5.17-mill bond voters approved in November 2017. It is expected to generate $230 million over 37 years.
An additional $5 million for construction expenses was raised privately through the Upper Arlington Legacy Campaign, and another $2.5 million will be raised privately for specialized programming and equipment at the new and renovated buildings.