Construction is about to begin on a $27 million junior high school in Lebanon.
The 124,186 square foot school, just north of the existing school on the north edge of Lebanon, will feature the latest in educational, environmental and energy-saving designs and technologies.
“It’s a new state-of-the-art junior high,” said Allison McKenzie, the architect who designed the school. “Parents should feel really great about sending their kids to this building.”
The entire building will be connected through wireless technologies and feature interactive projectors and other educational tools designed to encourage a “bring-your-own-device mentality” by teachers and students.
The students and staff are scheduled to move into the new building for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
It’s the first time a school has been designed and built for junior-high students.
Before the current building, at 160 Miller Road, was built as a high school in the mid-1960s, the high school was in what is now Berry Middle School, further south on Broadway. Each time, the junior high kids inherited the older building.
“This is something we have been doing for 185 years,” Superintendent Mark North said. “With the community’s support, we were able to build a new junior high school for the first time.”
The interior design will feature colors, including Warrior maroon and white.
“You’ll see more color,” McKenzie said, “to spur some imagination in the kids.”
The existing auditorium and gymnasium will be part of the new complex.
The new junior high will feature a new gymnasium and a two-story student research center.
“We hope our students will use this as the focal point of their education,” Principal Jason Enix said.
Last weekend, local leaders gathered for a groundbreaking at the site.
A construction manager and subcontractors will begin initial site work in May.
Construction is to begin in June and take about 15 months.
While featuring state-of-the-art technology, the new school is designed to maximize value and savings, including conservation of water and electricity.
“We could actually show they were going to use 30 percent less water,” McKenzie said. “This building is very emblematic of what the district is trying to accomplish as a whole.”
The project is part of more than $72 million in school construction funded through state funds and local levies.
District voters approved a 1.87-mill levy to finance $56.8 million in local costs, including $27.4 million in principal and $29.4 million in interest. Local voters also approved a 0.5-mill levy to fund continued maintenance required by the state to qualify for the funding.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission will contribute $45.1 million.
In addition to the new junior high and renovated Berry, the money will pay for improvements to the high school, and Donovan and Bowman elementary schools. Once the new junior high is completed, students from Berry will move into the old junior high, which will be razed once Berry has been renovated.
Berry is to reopen for the 2017-2018 school year.