Coronavirus: 3 major Clark County school construction projects on schedule despite other disruptions

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Construction on three multi-million dollar school projects remain on schedule as students return to classes after moving to remote learning at the end of the last academic year due to the coronavirus.

All three districts - Clark-Shawnee, Greenon and Northeastern Local Schools -- have experienced some issues, but nothing that has shut down the project or that officials say will cause delays.

Clark-Shawnee experienced limited impact on sourcing materials but construction crews benefit from gaining access to the building during the shutdown, according to Superintendent Brian Kuhn.

“The ordered closure of schools allowed contractors to renovate areas of the building earlier than scheduled because in-person instruction was not taking place. This moved our anticipated completion date up on the high school/middle school renovation project,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn said there are also no anticipated effects as a result of fall plans, which will include some students returning to the classroom.

“The temporary modifications of COVID-19 do not change the needs of the district to educate students. The buildings were planned to be flexible to accommodate future developments in education decades from now,” he said.

The anticipated completion dates for all three districts remain the same - Clark-Shawnee’s renovations are anticipated to be completed by Nov. 1 as all learning spaces for students are completed and the south gym and locker room are the only spaces still under renovations; Both Greenon and Clark-Shawnee’s new buildings will open in the fall of 2021; the Northeastern site will open in the fall of 2022; and the Kenton Ridge site will open in 2023.

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“Greenon experienced one shipping delay [from windows in May] that was COVID-related, but it was fixed pretty quickly and won’t affect the project timelines,” said Superintendent Darrin Knapke.

Construction crews are still working at the site of Greenon Local Schools new $50 million kindergarten through 12th grade school complex.

“The first coat of paint is going up in the K-6 wing and the second-floor dry wall,” Knapke said. “They’re finishing drywall in the K-6 second floor, hanging drywall tops and bottoms.”

They are also starting ceiling, grid wall molding and wiring on the K-6 first floor, as well as work on gutter downspout installations.

“All interior concrete is now complete, which is great, and all roofing is now complete,” Knapke said.

Knapke said a few things are also being done in the main area, including the bricking on the west side of the main building.

“On the bottom floor of the 7-12 grade area, they are completing framing and main administrative section, which is coming into the main part of the building,” he said. “All store front windows have been installed, and the K-6 and 7-12 courtyards are now getting started.”

The new school will be divided so that students of different age groups won’t intermingle. One pod will house the center of the building, the other is for elementary age students in grades kindergarten through sixth and the third pod will house remaining students.

Both student sections will have their own media centers, libraries and special education classrooms. However, only the pod for high school students will have classrooms designed for agricultural and business education.

The center of the building is where students, teachers and parents will enter the building, and will also be where the dining area, gym and music spaces will be located.

Ground was broken for the school in September 2018, and Summit Construction and SHP Leading Design are leading the project.

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Construction also continues to move forward for Northeastern’s preK through 12th grade schools as early site work at both sites is currently happening.

“At the South Vienna/Northeastern site, they are grading, removing structures and putting in underground pipes. At the Kenton Ridge site, they are installing a cutoff drain to de-water the building site,” said Superintendent John Kronour.

One of the new buildings will be located on the northeastern side of the district and the other located on the Kenton Ridge side. The total cost of the schools will be around $120 million, some of which will be funded by the state.

Voters approved a 37-year, $79 million bond issue for two new PreK-12 facilities in May 2018. In addition to the bond, the state will contribute 40%, or $40 million, to the project through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission, bringing the total cost of the two schools to nearly $120 million.

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“Progress on the Shawnee Elementary PreK-6 building has been amazing,” Kuhn said.

Kuhn said renovations that started in the spring of 2019 for the middle/high school is now nearing its end.

“The west side of the building will be turned over for occupancy in the coming days. This includes the renovated art rooms, family & consumer science spaces, social studies classrooms, North Gym, cafeteria, kitchen and lobby will all be ready for students to return,” he said.

The transformation of the lobby space, dining area and the North Gym will amaze students, staff and the community, Kuhn said.

“The modernized spaces coupled with new furniture will provide Clark-Shawnee students and staff with a wonderful learning environment,” he said.

The school is being built across the street from Shawnee High School.

The open house for the middle/high school that was scheduled in March was also postponed to a late date yet to be determined after recommendations from the Clark County Combined Health District, Ohio Department of Health and Governor Mike DeWine regarding large gatherings.

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 state will cover about about 30%, or $15 million, of the cost of the project.

Facts & Figures

November 1 - Clark-Shawnee renovations anticipated to be completed

Fall of 2021 - Both Clark-Shawnee and Greenon buildings to open

2022 - Northeastern site to open

2023 - Kenton Ridge site to open

Continuing coverage

The Springfield News-Sun has provided continued coverage of school building construction projects, tracking monthly developments, including examining the state of the current buildings, attending community forums and digging into what the new building and renovations might look like.

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