As officials gathered last week to break ground on the Fairborn Primary School, school board President Andrew Wilson was asked what will be different in the new building.
“Just about everything,” he said.
The new school will replace a 60-year-old, outdated building, officials said. The new two-story, 132,000-square-foot building will be constructed next to the playground at the current PreK-2 school. It will cost between $26 and $27 million and accommodate 1,214 students and 110 employees. The design incorporates colors and suggestions from staff.
Students will remain in the existing primary school until fall 2020, when they will move to the new school. Intermediate students will then move from the school on Dellwood Drive to the former primary school while a new intermediate school is built. In summer 2022, the city plans to demolish the old primary school, and intermediate students will return to a new school on Dellwood Drive that fall.
Moving intermediate students into the current PreK-2 school will prevent the district from needing to create a temporary space for those students and save money, they said.
The 2.95-mil bond levy funding construction for the new primary and intermediate school buildings passed by nearly 60 percent in November.
At a Friday morning groundbreaking ceremony at the current primary school, a few hundred staff members, teachers and parents celebrated the new building. Fairborn Mayor Paul Keller said in his speech that the building is “a huge step forward” for the city.
Keller said the current building doesn’t have the correct power distribution to handle modern equipment and computers. When it rains, water runs across the floor. Staff have been taping fans to electrical components to keep them from overheating.
The old building has a sprawling layout. Wilson said there are probably a half-mile of corridors inside it. That poses challenges when staff move students around the buildings for events such as tutoring.
“Right now it probably takes five minutes to go and get the student and then five minutes to walk him back,” he said.
The new building will be more compact. It will also have centralized air conditioning, while the old building only has window units.
Rooms in the new building will be paired together with removeable dividers. The gymnasium meets the requirements to serve as a tornado shelter.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Cheryl Wylie, who works as a special education aid to kindergarten students.
Wylie is most excited for the separate bathroom that will be attached to the room where the aids work with students. Current bathroom layouts would make it difficult for aids to assist students in wheelchairs who wear diapers, she said.
No students who use wheelchairs currently attend the school, but Wylie said it’s good for the school to be prepared in the future.
Keller brought up the Fairborn slogan, “a city in motion,” and said the new buildings are part of several new improvements for the city, including economic development and new housing.
“With these new schools, we really have the ingredients to put our city in motion,” Keller said.
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