Grandview Heights Schools: New 4-8 building expected to be ready in mid-July

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group
Colleen Cross, a project engineer with Corna Kokosing Construction Co., shows what will become the district offices in Grandview Heights Schools' new building that eventually will house students in grades 4-8.

Grandview Heights Schools' new building for students in grades 4-8 is expected to be ready for occupancy July 22.

"The project's still running on time, on budget and on quality," Superintendent Andy Culp said.

Going into Memorial Day weekend, some of the finishing touches to the interior of the building, including installing ceilings tiles, flooring, plumbing fixtures and shelving in the library, remained to be completed, chief technology officer Chris Deis said.

"It's really looks like a school building now," he said.

The last major task before the building is ready for occupancy will be installation of desks, chairs and other furniture and technology, which will occur in mid-July, Culp said.

The high school will move its operations into the new building later in the summer while a major renovation at the high school gets underway as the second phase of the facilities project.

High school staff and students will occupy the new building for about 15 months until the renovation project is completed, presumably in December 2022, Culp said.

High school students and staff will return to their building when classes resume in January, after the winter break, he said. 

At that time, students in grades 4-8 will move into their new building. Those students will continue to attend class in the current Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School building in the meantime.

The new building is between the Edison/Larson building and the high school.

More:Grandview Heights Schools: Edison/Larson students, staff place notes, artifacts in time capsule

One of the reasons the district opted to have the high school operations temporarily move into the new building rather than the current Edison/Larson building during the renovations is that the new school more easily could accommodate the high school's performing-arts programs, Culp said.

"(GHHS principal) Rob Brown and his staff are doing a fantastic job making accommodations," Deis said.

The high school band will use the middle school gym, and the choir will use classroom space that could be expanded into a double room by moving a dividing wall, he said.

This area will become the school's gymnasium.

Various options are under consideration for where high school plays and musical performances might be held while the high school auditorium is closed, Culp said. A likely option is to hold the performances in the current high school gym.

The high school renovation will allow a more efficient use of the available space, Deis said.

"The footprint of the building will stay the same," he said. "There are a lot of structural walls and support walls that can't be moved. More than half of the hallways will remain in place."

But some central areas of the building, including the library, cafeteria and auditorium, will receive major overhauls, Deis said.

The library will be in the same area of the building but will be reconfigured with a new main entry that opens to a hallway, he said.

"You'll start walking down the hallway and into the library itself," Deis said.

The auditorium also will remain in its current location but will be made ADA-compliant, with a ramp that will lead from the back of the hall all the way up and onto the stage, Culp said. New carpeting, stage flooring, curtains and treatments on the walls also will be installed.

A new soundboard for the speaker system also will be installed, Deis said, and a storage area for theater props, costumes and equipment will be created behind the stage area.

"Right now, a classroom that gets great sunlight is being used as the storage area," he said. 

The high school's electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems "will be gutted and entirely replaced," Deis said.

The construction of the new 4-8 school and high school renovation will modernize the facilities to ensure they can meet the 21st-century learning needs of students for decades to come, Culp said.

"Another important component of this project is that it's the first major step we're taking to address deferred maintenance in our buildings," he said. 

The front facade of the high school will be maintained, Culp said.

"That was important for our community," he said.

The exterior of the new 4-8 building was designed to complement and reflect the classic design of the high school facade, Culp said.

The high school building is expected to close for the renovation on or about Aug. 8, he said. The renovation is not expect to have any effect on games and other events held across the street at the stadium, Culp said.

Fencing will be installed around the high school site for the renovation, eliminating the parking areas to the east and west of the building, Deis said. Parking spaces will open up at the middle school, he said.

"Parking's always an adventure in Grandview, but we'll have a net increase in parking spaces during the renovation, despite the closure of the lots to the east and west of the high school building," Deis said.

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