Xenia to break ground on Warner Middle School next week, delays accepting HS funding

Xenia Community Schools will break ground on the new $45 million Warner Middle School next week.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8 at noon, directly adjacent to Warner Middle School, where the new building will be located.

The new Warner Middle will accommodate Xenia’s growing number of students with flexible learning spaces, the district said in the announcement. The facility will include an academic wing with one floor dedicated to each grade, a multi-purpose student commons area, flexible classroom spaces, and a regulation gymnasium, among other features.

In July, the district received nearly $38 million from the state to complete the new middle school and fund a major renovation and expansion for Xenia High School. The middle and high schools are the last of Xenia’s school buildings to be upgraded as part of a facilities plan developed in 2008. Xenia voters passed a bond issue in 2021 to fund the local match for Warner Middle School’s construction.

The $44.8 million construction cost is split 54% to 46%, with Xenia covering $24.2 million, and the state covering $20.6 million, per district documents. During a special meeting Thursday, the school board formally accepted the state money for building Warner based on August cost estimates, but deferred accepting the remaining funds for the high school, in the hopes that construction costs will cool off in that time.

This process also allows the district to garner more input from the community about what families want to see at the high school, similar to the steps they took with Warner. The district will begin holding community conversations on the high school later this year.

“This project has been a long time coming, and we are incredibly excited to see real, physical change start to take place on the site,” said Superintendent Gabriel Lofton. “We hope the community is as excited as we are about the possibilities for Xenia students that this facility will create, and this event is a great way to commemorate the beginning of this historic project.”

The groundbreaking event will feature current and future middle school students, as well as speakers from the district and a member of the construction project team from project architectural firm SHP. The program will also include both current leadership students from Warner Middle, and a few members of the Classes of 2030 and 2031. Those students will be among the first classes to attend the new facility as 6th and 7th grade students when it is anticipated to open.

“The construction fence is in place, and our middle school families are already getting used to the new one-way traffic flow past the building,” Lofton said. “In the coming weeks, they will begin to see movement in the restricted area, as the beginning phase of construction begins this fall.”

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