Clark-Shawnee, Greenon leaders, parents ‘excited’ to start year in new, renovated schools

Two local school districts will start the school year welcoming students to new or renovated buildings when classes start this fall.

Clark- Shawnee Local School District’s $52 million construction project included a new pre-K through sixth-grade school building and renovations of the middle/high school.

Greenon Local School District’s $36 million project includes a new building with separate wings for kindergarten through sixth grade students and seventh through 12th grades.

Clark-Shawnee held a ribbon cutting and community open house Friday night for the new elementary school and middle/high school renovations at the school, 1841 E. Possum Road. A virtual walkthrough of the buildings will also be shared online the week of Aug. 16 for those that could not attend in-person.

“We’re excited for this school year. The facilities project is a large undertaking, starting from the visionary and brainstorming at the beginning, to the design on paper, to the physical construction, this has been a long-awaited moment for our community to have updated facilities, so we’re excited for what this means for our students, our teachers, our staff and our community,” said Clark-Shawnee Superintendent Brian Kuhn.

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Clark-Shawnee School District held an open house for their new combined elementary school Friday evening. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clark-Shawnee School District held an open house for their new combined elementary school Friday evening. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Clark-Shawnee School District held an open house for their new combined elementary school Friday evening. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The new elementary will open as the new school for all preschool through sixth-graders on Wednesday, Aug. 18. It is located at the northeast corner of Selma and Possum roads, across the street from the middle and high school. The renovation of the middle/high school will be home to seventh-graders through seniors and was completed in November 2020. The district will vacate Possum, Rockway and Reid schools, and share plans later this year for the future of those sites.

ExplorePHOTOS: Clark-Shawnee Elementary Open House

“Shawnee elementary will come online to students here next week when they return to school,” Kuhn said. “The high school and middle school was renovated. It was fully back online for the start of last school year, which we know was impacted by the pandemic, but last year they operated with all the renovations complete, so new furnishing fixtures, renovated classroom learning spaces, cafeteria, student dining, all those things were modernized.”

Kuhn said students will return to in-person instruction five days a week this year.

Lindsey Stevens, who has three children in the district, said they are very excited to return to new buildings.

“I’m very excited. It’s been a long time coming and I’m excited that they’re going to be in a new building that is modern and bright and safe. The entrance compared to the older schools are going to be a lot safer,” she said.

“They’re (her three children) excited. They’re excited because they’re going to be with their old friends, but we’ve talked a lot about how they’re going to meet new friends because the school’s combining, and they know some kids at the other schools, but it’ll be exciting to have them all together and just see their old teachers but meet new ones,” Stevens added.

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Kuhn added that the district will recommend masks, and inform parents of the CDC and ODH recommendations regarding masks, but that they will not require them.

Stevens said she is comfortable with how the district is handling masking.

“I’m sure we’ll ask our kids to wear their masks... I’m not worried. I feel comfortable with everything they (the district) did when they went back in-person last year,” she said. “I’m excited to get them back. I’m ready for them to be with their teachers and really get back to learning in the classroom.”

Clark-Shawnee held a groundbreaking ceremony in October 2018 to kick off construction of their $52 million pre-K through sixth-grade school building.

Voters approved a $37 million bond issue in August 2017 to build a new elementary 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 home a little more than $15 a month. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) will cover about 30%, or $15.6 million, of the cost of the project.

The 122,000-square-foot elementary building features modern classroom learning environments, updated instructional technology, collaborative learning areas, learning spaces, safety features such as a secure entry vestibule, an advanced security camera system, communication systems, and the ability to secure portions of the building if needed, the release stated. The middle/high school renovation included updates to all aspects of the facility such as air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, replaced furnishings, updated classrooms, renovated gyms with new seating, and updated security features.

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Greenon School will have one campus, but separate wings pre-K-sixth grade students and seventh through 12th grades. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Greenon School will have one campus, but separate wings pre-K-sixth grade students and seventh through 12th grades. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
Greenon School will have one campus, but separate wings pre-K-sixth grade students and seventh through 12th grades. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Greenon will also host a ribbon cutting and community open house for the districts new K-12 school this month, according to a release on the district’s website.

The celebration will be held starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29, at the front of the school, 510 Enon-Xenia Road. After the ribbon cutting, the building will be open for community members to walk through until 5 p.m. A virtual walkthrough of the buildings will also be shared online the week of Aug. 30 for those that cannot attend.

“We’re super excited just to welcome them (the students) into a brand new state-of-the-art facility,” said Superintendent Darrin Knapke. “The community and stakeholders have been a big part of this process and we are very excited to welcome them into the new building.”

The new school, which will open to students on Tuesday, Sept. 7, is located on the northeast corner of Rebert Pike and Enon-Xenia Road, at the former site of Indian Valley Intermediate School. A third gym on the new campus was preserved from Indian Valley, which was abated and demolished over the summer. Athletic facilities will remain at 3950 S. Tecumseh Rd., the site of the former high school, and a shuttle bus will transport students from the school to after school practices. The high school will be abated and demolished in early fall after the new campus opens.

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“The parking lot is currently being finished, and in front of the building they’re wrapping up Indian Valley, which the Indian Valley gym will be tied to the new school, but those things are still in work, but that parking lot will be finished prior to the ribbon cutting and we’re excited to start the school year,” Knapke said.

Vana Beekman, a parent of a kindergarten and second grader, said she is also excited about the new school.

“It’s so exciting. You can’t even describe how exciting it is, especially having children being in the old buildings and knowing there’s no air conditioning and getting out early... (in the new building) there’s air, the facilities are nice. I think the district’s done a really good job of setting up to having a really good learning atmosphere for these kids... I think the kids deserve it and as parents we deserve to be excited about where our kids are going to school,” she said.

Beekman, who said her kids are also excited to go back to school in the new building, said she is comfortable with sending her children back in-person.

“I’m absolutely comfortable. I think our district has done a wonderful job at giving options for you to be able to feel safe. If you would like to have your child wear a mask, they’re absolutely welcome to, and I think a lot of them will be. I personally am feeling comfortable with it. I trust our district, I trust our administrators, I trust our teachers… They obviously are going to do what’s in the best interest of our children, and I think that that was proven at how they handled the pandemic last year,” she said.

Knapke said masks will be optional this year, but that the district will continue to be cautious and collaborate with the health department. He also said that there is a sink in each classroom for students to wash their hands.

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There is a sink in each classroom at the new Greenon School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

There is a sink in each classroom at the new Greenon School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Caption
There is a sink in each classroom at the new Greenon School. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Voters approved a $36 million bond issue for construction of the school in May of 2017. The 6.98-mill bond costs a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 property in the district about $20 a month. The state picked up about 33%, or $14.6 million, of the costs through the OFCC.

The 198,997-square-foot building features two new gyms, science labs, VoAg space, and separate entrances for parent drop-off, buses and student drivers, according to the district. Kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms are in the southern wing of the building with spaces for music, gym and art; seventh- through 12th-grade classrooms are in the northeastern high school wing; and there is a shared cafeteria space divided off during the school day and can be used for large events after hours.


School start dates for Clark and Champaign counties

Clark-Shawnee: Aug. 18

Global Impact STEM Academy: Aug. 18

Graham: Aug. 25

Greenon: Sept. 7

Mechanicsburg: Aug. 19

Northeastern: Aug. 19

Northwestern: Aug. 18

Southeastern: Aug. 26

Springfield: Aug. 18, 19

Tecumseh: Aug. 18

Triad: Aug. 19

Urbana: Aug. 23 for group A, Aug. 24 for group B, Aug. 25 for group C, all attend Aug. 26.

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