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Northwestern plans ‘fall break’ for buildings

Northwestern Local Schools will open in August as planned, with older students attending the new junior/senior high school, then take an October “fall break” to complete the move to the district’s new buildings.

“The Oct. 25 break is when we’re going to be moving and taking occupancy of the new elementary,” said Superintendent Tony Orr.

Northwestern’s building project is a funding partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, with the state picking up about 45 percent of the tab. The $51 million project will make Northwestern the third Clark County district to work with the OFCC to open new buildings, after Springfield and Tecumseh.

Seventh through 12th grade students will attend the junior/senior high school, which is expected to be completed in early July, with six weeks to make any necessary repairs or changes before teachers can start moving in Aug. 19. Prekindergarten through 6th grade students will attend the elementary school; construction is supposed to be completed in September.

Board members have approved a calendar for the 2013-14 school year that starts on Aug. 26, similar to past years. Then students are off Friday, Oct. 25, Monday, Oct. 28 and Tuesday Oct. 29 and will return to school in the new building Oct. 30.

“The students are going to be elated,” said Orr. “They’re going to take occupancy of brand-new buildings with state-of-the-art technology … I think it’s just going to open up a whole new world for the students and our teachers as far as the technology for instruction.”

The district recently entered into a $130,000 contract with Apple to purchase 190 iPads. There will be some available at the high school, and teachers in 4th through 8th grades will use the tablets to work together in science and math to improve math scores in the district.

“The new buildings are actually going to be state-of-the-art, and it’s going to be a completely wireless environment, something that Northwestern has not had the luxury of,” said Orr.

iPads have become a popular tool in education because of their mobility and the chance to save software costs by using free apps, things the district took into consideration, said Orr.

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