Clark-Shawnee hopes to open new elementary school in 2020


Clark-Shawnee Local Schools hopes to open its new elementary school in three years and complete renovations at the high school in four years.

Voters approved a $37 million bond issue in August to build the new school and renovate the middle/high school. The bond issue was for 5.3 mills for 37 years and will cost the owner of a $100,000 house a little more than $15 a month.

READ: Clark-Shawnee $37M bond passed for new schools, what’s next?

The state is also contributing $15 million to the project. The total cost for the new building and renovations is more than $50 million.

“If everything goes as it should go, they’re hoping that the pre-k-through sixth-grade building will open in the fall of 2020,” school board president David Dehart said. “The renovations at the middle/high school will hopefully be finished by the winter of 2021.”

The district is working hard to have the building open as soon as possible, Clark-Shawnee Superintendent Gregg Morris said.

“Understand everything is projected at this point,” he said. “That date is if everything goes really well. We are on schedule right now.”

MORE: Clark-Shawnee residents approve school construction issue

To meet those deadlines, the administration and school board members are working with Ohio Facilities Construction Commission representatives to hire key positions so they can start designing and building it. The district is in negotiations with SHP Leading Design to be the school’s architect.

“We are in the process of talking with them,” Morris said. “But we don’t have a contract. I expect to see that coming before the board in December.”

SHP Leading Design is a firm out of Columbus. It’s also in the process of designing the new Greenon Local Schools pre-k-through-12th-grade building.

Because the state is contributing money to the project, Dehart said they get a say on who’s hired. Two representatives from the OFCC and two Clark-Shawnee board members sat in on interviews of architects and SHP Leading Design was selected, Dehart said. He believes the full school board will approve a contract SHP Leading Design because the school and company have a history, he said.

“They did a small project for us when they were doing some improvements in the high school,” he said.

The district also will hire some risk management professionals to oversee the project, Morris said.

Throughout the building process, Morris said the district wants to be as transparent as possible. To do so, Clark-Shawnee is regularly updating its website and newsletter with information and having conversations with the parent-teacher association, Morris said.

Clark-Shawnee also will have a visioning committee made up of teachers, administrators and community members, Dehart said.

RELATED: Clark County rural districts face aging buildings, no voters

“In those meetings, we will be getting input from different people,” Dehart said. “That’s a good way for someone to get involved if they are interested in the new school.”

Though it is an exciting time in the district, Morris said it still has to deal with its aging elementary schools until the new one opens.

“They are about the same as they were before,” he said. “We are currently dealing with an old heating system we’ve patched for years. We’re trying not to put large sums of money in them now because we’re getting the new building.”



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