Worthington Schools officials are looking at three scenarios for the future of Colonial Hills Elementary School: replacing it on the same site at 5800 Greenwich St., building an addition or moving to a new location.
Consultants laid out the three scenarios for the school, which opened in 1955, during a facilities update at the April 28 school board meeting.
However, Superintendent Trent Bowers said, all considerations are years out and would include significant community feedback.
“It’s very unique,” Bowers said. “Many of our parents like the nature aspect of the current setup. It suits Worthington really well.”
Unfortunately, he said, the 43,145-square-foot building has exceeded capacity.
Colonial Hills sits on roughly 14 acres, and the footprint does not allow for buses on the property – they line up along Colonial Avenue.
The first option ($21.9 million) would be to raze the structure and rebuild it on roughly the same footprint. The second ($18.1 million) would add a classroom building running north and south. The third would be to build a new facility ($21.97 million) on 13.7 acres of the I Am Boundless property, 445 E. Dublin-Granville Road.
The Boundless land is part of the former Harding Hospital site. Boundless, which is based in Franklin County, focuses on care for adults and children with behavioral-health challenges and developmental disabilities.
“We will continue that negotiation process (to acquire the property),” Bowers said. “Whether Colonial Hills moves, there is an open discussion.”
A study conducted in 2015 by Ohio Facilities Construction Commission determined Colonial Hills was one of seven buildings that should be replaced instead of renovated to modern standards, Bowers said.
Participants at a community meeting in September seemed to favor the idea of relocating the school, he said.
“Most people felt like it was an opportunity the school district should capitalize on,” he said.
“We’re in a district that values community feedback, and I believe the district has shown that through this entire process,” board President Nikki Hudson said.
A 2.58-mill, $89 million bond issue approved by voters in 2018 has led to the first phase of a facilities plan that includes the rebuilding of Perry and Worthingway middle schools and upgrades to Kilbourne and McCord middle schools in anticipation of moving sixth grades from the elementary buildings to the middle schools, Bowers said.
The future of Colonial Hills won’t be addressed until 2022 at the earliest, should the school board ask residents to support a bond, Bowers said. Construction likely would start the following fall, he said.
Hudson agreed the Boundless property presents an intriguing possibility for the district, in which available land is at a premium.
“It would be irresponsible not to explore it,” Hudson said.