New Fairborn High School construction focusing on interior as colder weather nears

FAIRBORN — Construction on the future Fairborn High School is about one third complete with the aim for crews to focus on interior work this winter.

The brick façade is up and roof work is being done on the project that has increased in cost from $70 million to $82 million since voter approval of a 5.83-mill bond issue two years ago, said Jeff Patrick, Fairborn business operations director.

The exterior progress will allow work on the building’s interior through the colder months, starting in the academic wing, the south end of the building, Patrick said.

“We’ve got heat in that section,” he said. “So, they’re going to start putting drywall up … and (crews will) work in the academic wing all winter – even when the weather gets pretty bad out.”

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

That work will also include plumbing, wiring and internet capacity, Patrick said.

Work on the 214,000 square foot building, which started in June 2021, is targeted for “substantial completion” in March 2024 with classes starting there the following school year, he said. The estimated 80-acre site will also be the future home of a new middle school, he added.

Aside from the academic wing, the new building will include a basketball arena seating more than 2,000, a 1,000-plus capacity performing arts center and an auxiliary gym, Patrick said.

An outdoor athletic complex will include a football, soccer and track stadium seating about 4,000 around a turfed field. The complex also will include a multi-purpose field/band practice field and practice fields for football and soccer, all which will be grass, he said.

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Cut from the original plans due to inflationary costs were softball fields, baseball fields and tennis courts.

Those elements were put on hold because the district did not want to “negatively affect academic areas,” Fairborn board of education President Jerry Browning said.

However, the board is now considering what Treasurer Kevin Philo estimated to be a 1.75-mill, 34-year property tax issue to fund those projects. If approved in a board vote expected next month, the issue would be on the ballot in May 2023, Fairborn officials said.

The tax issue would not mean residents would pay a higher tax rate than they do today. District officials said that’s because collection of funds from the 2023 bond would start in January 2027, when a separate one expires.

Meanwhile, crews will focus on the building’s interior, working south to north, toward the arena and the auxiliary gym, Patrick said.

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