Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools: Lincoln opening to mark first new school in 26 years

Ribbon-cutting ceremony set June 5 with tours for new students

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the new Lincoln Elementary School, 261 Helmbright Drive, beginning at 11:30 a.m. June 5.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District's new Lincoln Elementary School, 261 Helmbright Drive, will be dedicated during a ceremony to be held there at 11:30 a.m. June 5.

Steve Barrett, G-J superintendent, said the ribbon-cutting ceremony represents the culmination of Phase 1 of the district’s master facilities plan.

“Lincoln Elementary was the centerpiece of Phase 1, and we are incredibly proud of the learning space that was designed for our community,” Barrett said. “The opening of Lincoln Elementary is an exciting milestone in the history of our district.”

Barrett said the opening will mark the first time the district has opened a new school in 26 years.

Judy Hengstebeck, G-J communications coordinator, said the school is expected to open in August with approximately 700 students.

“We are grateful to our GJPS community for its support,” Barrett said. “We look forward to opening the building for community tours on June 13.”

He said tour sign-up information should be available on the GJPS website and social-media platforms soon.

Special guests are invited to tour the building immediately after the ceremony, with a tour for the community scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. on June 13, Hengstebeck said.

A rain date for the ribbon-cutting ceremony is June 12.

Hengstebeck said all incoming Lincoln Elementary School families are invited to a pizza party and building tours starting on the playground at 12:15 p.m. June 5.

In May 2018, voters approved a 1.22-mill, 30-year bond issue and a 4.28-mill continuing (permanent) operating levy, for a total of 5.5 mills, to finance the new elementary school that’s replacing the current Lincoln Elementary School at 515 Havens Corners Road.

New high school

In addition to opening the new elementary school, planning is in progress for the new 400,000-square-foot Gahanna Lincoln High School, thanks to passage of Issue 22 by 75 votes in November 2020.

Issue 22 included a 4.93-mill bond issue and a 1.5-mill permanent-improvements levy, for a total of 6.43 mills.

The issue also included a 4.26-mill operating levy to hire additional staff to keep pace with increasing enrollment and meet additional costs related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to Barrett.

He said the new high school and additions to Blacklick and High Point elementary schools and the three middle schools represent Phase 2 of the district’s master facilities plan.

Barrett said design firm DLR Group and Schorr Architects are working on designing additions to the two elementary and three middle schools.

“This team is poised to create flexible and innovative learning spaces that will provide much-needed space for student growth in our GJPS community,” he said. “The design team will also work closely with GJPS students, staff and administrators to design a new Gahanna Lincoln High School for our community.”

Barrett previously estimated it would take about 24 months to plan the new high school building and about 24 months to build it.  

A May 20 news release from DLR read as follows:

“Built in 1927, the existing Lincoln High School is outdated and does not meet the educational needs of today’s students and teachers. DLR Group’s design for the high school will offer competitive and flexible spaces that allow for expanded vocational and real-life learning opportunities for 2,800 students. It includes academic classrooms, flexible environments that adapt to a variety of student needs, hands-on labs, a performing arts center, athletics center and fieldhouse, and an expansive cafeteria space. To accommodate increased student enrollment district-wide, classrooms for general instruction, art, and music, and expanded cafeteria space will be added to two K-5 elementary schools and three middle schools. These additions allow the district to create flexible learning environments and provide space for future growth.”

Troy Glover, DLR planner, said DLR Group is thrilled to be part of the team to design Phase 2 of the plan and to deliver next-generation learning environments to benefit the entire community of learners.

Ruscilli Construction is serving as construction manager for the project.

Barrett said the district looks forward to engaging its Phase 2 steering committee comprising staff, parents and community members in the design process, with monthly meetings scheduled in collaboration with DLR and Schorr Architects.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla