The school board re-evaluated those plans in April after estimated expenses for the project rose sharply, prompting board members to adjust the scope of the project. By June, costs had soared nearly $3 million over budget.
The board subsequently decided to scrap the proposal for permanent maker-spaces at the elementary schools, at least temporarily, and focus solely on construction of the career tech classrooms.
In July, district spokeswoman Cassie Dietrich said the project was still coming in over budget, even after dropping the maker-space plans. Dietrich said construction management company Gilbane was “scoping the work with subcontractors” in an attempt to get prices down.
Gilbane was ultimately able to reign in costs enough to keep the overall price close to the district’s original $7 million budget.
In 2021, the district selected Ruetschle Architects to create preliminary designs for the project, which include the renovation of and addition to a building on the Wayne High School campus. The renovated building will house three career tech labs for student use. These labs will allow students to experience hands-on education within the construction/electric/carpentry, HVAC and welding fields.
“Getting skilled labor to do really important work is becoming more and more difficult, so the business community is excited about these opportunities for kids,” Enix said. “These are credentialed programs, which allow kids to graduate from high school with credentials that are ready to go into the workforce right away.”
Multiple Huber Heights City Council members attended Thursday’s event, as well as Mayor Jeff Gore. Councilwoman Kathleen Baker said she’s “thrilled” to see the project coming to fruition.
“These students are going to be job-ready from day one and aren’t going to have a debt hanging over their head,” she said. “It’s exciting for the students, for the parents, and for the community.”
The building to be renovated is attached to the school’s Performing Arts Center, but detached from the main high school building by a driveway. Dietrich said the project is estimated to be completed by fall 2023.