When the Piqua City Schools opened the doors this fall to the new Central Intermediate School, they marked the beginning of the end of a project to consolidate seven primary and intermediate schools into three facilities.
Construction of the intermediate school on the site of the former Piqua Memorial Hospital in the middle of town and two prekindergarten through third-grade buildings at the east and west ends was approved by district voters in November 2011.
The intermediate school serves students in grades 4 through 6.
Students moved into the new Washington Primary and Springcreek Primary schools just before Christmas 2014.
The buildings were constructed for around $54 million with the district paying 53 percent of the bill and the remaining 47 percent by the Ohio School Facilities Commission program.
“We have already seen savings with efficiencies with utilities, resources and materials. When you go from seven buildings to three, you have tremendous efficiencies,” said district Superintendent Rick Hanes.
The new Piqua Central Intermediate building offers many pluses for its nearly 850 students, but to Principal Jake Amlin the biggest benefit was bringing together the talents of staff from three buildings. “The work they are doing as collaborative teams can’t be understated,” he said.
He and Hanes mentioned more than once the new buildings’ extended learning areas, which provide space for independent work by students in a comfortable environment.
Curt South, a Piqua schools graduate, worked on building design with Fanning Howey architects before later joining the district as its business manager. “The buildings we moved out of, the newest ones were built in the 1950s,” he said, noting they were outdated and did not include air conditioning or sprinklers.
“We are no longer fighting the old buildings to educate our students,” South said.
Hanes said the new buildings are community friendly. For an example, he noted each was built with a generator for use as shelter with energy for life support if a community emergency would occur.
Remaining project work includes determining what to do with properties where the buildings that served the district for decades stood. Hanes and Chris Schmiesing, city planner, will meet Oct. 26 at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. with anyone with input during coffee with the superintendent events at Winans on Looney Road.