This is an exciting time as our school districts begins work on the design process and planning four new schools. Three new elementary schools will be built – one at the current Crosby Elementary site, one at the current Harrison Elementary site and the final elementary will be built behind the current High School / Junior School location. Finally, the new Junior High School will be built near the current JHS. Design work and planning will run from May 2018 through May 2019, with construction expected to start in May 2019, with occupancy targeted for the fall of 2021!
The Board of Education has formally passed the necessary resolutions to request the funds from the State, and the State will make a final approval to release funds ($26.6M) by the end of this month. Throughout the project, the district will “draw down” funds from the State to pay contractors, with payment from the State made in three-month increments.
The next major step is to select an architecture and engineering firm. Five firms submitted their qualifications and proposals to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) and the district’s administration team and Board of Education members are whittling the firms to a short list. Presentations by the four finalists will be made at the Feb. 15 Board meeting, starting at 6PM (Crosby Elementary). Our District Leadership Team and several School Board members will visit several similar projects completed by our three final firms by the end of February.
In early March, we will have formal interviews with the finalists, with a determination projected by the middle of the month – as to which firm will serve our project. With regard to the selection, SLSD gets two votes and the State of Ohio gets two votes on who our architect and engineering firm will be.
Soon thereafter, we will select a construction manager; this is the individual who coordinates the sub-contractors during the build and is the manager of the construction process as a whole. At our January school board meeting, we decided to use the “Construction Manager at Risk” delivery model, which allows for a construction leader working on our behalf. Using this model should result in a faster project delivery, while providing flexibility to handle changes during the design phase and more control during the actual construction process. Having this person, with the skills and knowledge base in this area, does come at a cost and was projected for during the initial planning stages.
This Spring begins the design phase – where we solicit heavy community input. Just as the Community Advisory Team (CAT) helped clarify the facilities master plan last spring, we will soon ask for thoughts about design of the actual schools. Our goal is to get as much input as possible from the community through the design process – from formal, sit down meetings / conversations to online / digital surveys (Survey Monkey). In the end, our schools will reflect our community.
Yes, the process is complex and the timeline is aggressive. However, in order to have four new schools ready for students by the fall of 2021 and to do it right / do it once, we need input from the masses! Please consider participating in one or more of the community meetings to share in the shaping of our schools. We anticipate the input meetings to start in late May and continue for the next 10-12 months. Details on meeting times and locations will soon be shared; all are welcome and encouraged to attend and to be part of these important decisions.
In the meantime, I encourage you to continue viewing this section of our website. We will post relevant information here as a way to continue sharing news about this exciting time for our schools and our community.
- John C. Hamstra, Superintendent, Southwest Local