Canal Winchester High School renovations add needed space during pandemic

Jack McLaughlin
ThisWeek
The school logo adorns the new flooring inside the rotunda at Canal Winchester High School. The remodeling project cost $27.1 million and was completed Aug. 17, adding 43,000 square feet to the building. The renovations included the addition of 16 classrooms, an attached auxiliary gym, a new library learning area, updated HVAC, a new security system and updated hallways.

Additional space available at Canal Winchester High School thanks to major renovations is being put to good use during the social-distancing requirements in place because of the COVID-19 cornavirus pandemic. 

Ruscilli Construction completed the project Aug. 17. State funding covered $19.6 million of the total cost of $27.1 million. 

The facility updates added 43,000 square feet of space to the building, including 16 classrooms, an attached auxiliary gym, a new library learning area, updated HVAC, a new security system and updated hallways. 

“It all went amazing,” Principal Kirk Henderson said. “We only had one or two delays, and those were only for a couple of days. Everything was pretty much on schedule." 

Because in-building classes were canceled for a portion of last school year because of the pandemic, Henderson said workers were able to have more access to the areas to be renovated, which speeded up construction. 

Henderson and Superintendent Jim Sotlar both said the most important addition to the school in 2020 hasn’t come from any single feature but from the additional space. 

“We’re using the new space in those classrooms,” Henderson said. “It’s imperative we keep kids socially distanced, and this helps us spread them out.” 

A new library learning area was part of the renovations at the high school.

The new space is important outside of classroom learning as well, Sotlar said, noting that the more spacious hallways allow students to change classes while not having to be too close to one another. “This really opens things up,” he said. “We would have a huge hallway jam otherwise as kids are moving from one side of the building to the other side.” 

The school remains in the "hybrid learning" model in which one group of students has in-person classes Mondays and Tuesdays and the other attends Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays are remote learning for all students. 

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An auxiliary gym is one of the new features from the project that added 43,000 square feet of space to the high school.
A computer lab was one of 16 new classrooms added to the high school.