Work on the second phase of South-Western City School District's Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project is expected to begin later this year, despite the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
J.C. Benton, an OFCC spokesman, said the agency is hopeful South-Western’s project is not affected when Ohio lawmakers meet a July 1 deadline to finalize the state’s biennial capital budget.
"OFCC has not canceled any funded K-12 projects, and funds have been appropriated for the remainder of this fiscal year," including those for the South-Western project, he said.
"At this time, we do not anticipate any delays in the South-Western City School District project," Benton said. "It is currently still in the design phase, and as construction was deemed an essential business during the Ohio Department of Health stay-at-home order, our work continues."
The second phase of South-Western's project includes construction of new buildings for Brookpark, Finland, Norton and Pleasant View middle schools and renovations at Jackson Middle School and East Franklin Elementary School.
The four new buildings will replace the current school buildings.
Although the new Finland and Norton schools will be built at their current locations, the new Brookpark building will be constructed within the Beulah Park development, and the Pleasant View building will be adjacent to Bolton Crossing Elementary School on Holt Road. Brookpark now is at 2803 Southwest Blvd. while Pleasant View is at 7255 Knopp Road.
Each of the new middle school buildings will have about 112,813 square feet of space and have capacity for up to 801 students, Bill Wise, South-Western's superintendent, said previously.
The buildings are intended to open in August 2022, Wise has said. In November 2018, voters approved a 38-year, $93.4 million bond issue to pay the district's share of the second phase of the project.
The total cost of the project will be about $193 million.
The OFCC, a state agency that assists school districts with construction projects, will provide about $60 million, or about half of the project's core costs.
The district also is planning to complete asphalt and roofing repairs throughout the district as part of the project. No OFCC funds will be used for the roofing and asphalt work.
"We are currently working on schematic-design documents and should have those completed by mid-June," said Sandy Nekoloff, South-Western's executive director of communications.
Dates for groundbreaking ceremonies involving students and staff at each school site have not been determined, Nekoloff said, given the uncertainty of whether remote learning for students will continue when schools reopen in August.