West Carrollton’s school construction projects are among the most visible in the region as two new buildings are more than halfway up on busy Dixie Drive and along Central Avenue in the center of town.
Those are the first two of four planned new schools to eventually replace all of the district’s current school buildings, as a result of voters passing a bond issue in 2019.
“We’ve been trying to do this for 10 years,” said West Carrollton schools business manager Jack Haag, calling it a transformative project for the community. “It will be great when we finally see this project completely through. … The way we’re changing the landscape of West Carrollton and Moraine is going to be huge.”
The new West Carrollton Early Childhood Center, along Central Avenue, will be a two-story, 95,000-square-foot building, housing preschool, kindergarten and first grade, plus the district administrative offices and meeting room.
The new West Carrollton Intermediate School — at the current CF Holliday site on Dixie Drive — will be a two-story, 71,000-square-foot building, housing all of the district’s fifth- and sixth-graders.
Both schools are scheduled to open in fall 2022, with 500-plus students at the Intermediate School and almost 750 at the Early Childhood Center.
Haag said both structures are tracking close to on-time and on-budget so far. Mike Tinch, the project superintendent for Shook Construction, said getting out to bid quickly has helped keep work moving, and he said so far they’ve avoided supply chain issues that have plagued much of the economy for the past year.
West Carrollton is keeping the community updated on the projects via a “Construction Reports” link on their website that is updated weekly with descriptions and photos of the exact work happening on each site.
Last week’s posted update matched a tour of the sites, as veneers are currently going on the exterior walls of both buildings, extensive roof rebar was added for the tornado shelter of the Early Childhood Center and the slab was being poured for the gym at the Intermediate School.
Haag said when the new schools open in fall 2022 for grades pre-K-1 and 5-6, West Carrollton’s second-, third- and fourth-graders likely will go to school at the existing Schnell and Russell schools, although that is still being finalized.
The existing CF Holliday and Shade Early Childhood Center are slated for demolition in summer 2022, after farewell tours are offered to the community in the spring.
The principal cost of West Carrollton’s total project was listed at $124 million, with $92 million coming from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the rest from local taxpayers over the next 30-plus years, because the bond issue passed.
But Phase II — building a Grade 2-4 school at the middle school stadium site and a Grade 7-12 campus at the high school location — must wait until West Carrollton’s turn comes up in the OFCC funding cycle. That date has not been announced.
Haag said the new schools will have larger classrooms, better one-on-one and small group intervention spaces, plus better electrical and internet capacity for school technology. And of course, the schools will have air conditioning, a big issue after West Carrollton and other local schools had to dismiss students early on multiple days in the past month due to heat.