District unveils plan for building

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 14, 2000

Chesapeake – Students who will attend school in the new Chesapeake Middle School building in 2001 will not have to suffer the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer.

Friday, January 14, 2000

Chesapeake – Students who will attend school in the new Chesapeake Middle School building in 2001 will not have to suffer the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. A sophisticated heating and air conditioning system is just one of the things the school’s architect Mark Tanner plans to include in the new building, which is being paid for through a $2.4 million property tax levy, and by $14.2 million in state building assistance funds.

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The new middle school will only cost the district about $8 million. The rest of the monies will go toward the renovation of the current high school and elementary school.

Tanner, as well as the district’s construction manager, Bob McAuliffe, and project manager, Phil Johnson, discussed plans for the new school at a public forum Thursday at Chesapeake High School.

The district wanted to show the area parents what their tax dollars are doing, said Fred Wood Jr., superintendent.

"I wish we would have had a lot more parents attend," Wood said. "We’ll probably display the plans somewhere, but we haven’t discussed it yet."

The new middle school will be a brick building with a sloping, shingled roof, Tanner said. The outside will be similar in coloring and look like the high school, with one exception – windows.

"There will be a lot of glass in the corners and in front of the building," Tanner said. "One of the things glass does is bring sunlight into the building. It creates a better educational environment."

The plan received a thumbs-up from second-grader Megan Reaper.

"I like the windows," Megan said.

And the 8-year-old is looking forward to attending the new school.

"I think it’ll be cool because you get to see the new things in it," Megan said.

Her mother, Donna, likes what she heard at the public meeting for different reasons.

"There are a lot of things I like about the plans," Mrs. Reaper said. "I like the way they have the gym set up with all the bleachers on one side facing the stage and the upstairs with glass so you can look down at the stage. I also like the bigger rooms."

The rooms in the 62,000 square-foot facility are going to be 900 square-feet in size, Tanner said.

"The children won’t know what to do when they have this much space," Mrs. Reaper said. "There’s no room at the elementary school. They need an entirely new elementary as well as a new middle school."

The new building will have a good amount of security built into it, as well, Tanner added. And come completely furnished.

"You will not be required to move anything into it except for students, books and maybe some minor equipment," he said.

Funds have been set aside for security systems, but until the project is under way, school officials will not know how much that will buy them, Tanner said.

"Whether it will be enough to go as far as we want, we don’t know yet," he said. "If we have to do more, it will have to be at the district’s expense.

As required by state law, the entire building will be handicapped-accessible. A self-operated elevator is included in the plans so that special needs students may access the second floor of the building, Tanner said.

This pleased Jill Endicott.

"Basically, I like the plans," Mrs. Endicott said. "They definitely need handicapped facilities. There are some children moving up to the middle school who are special needs students."

In fact, the only problem Mrs. Endicott and Mrs. Reaper could foresee with the new middle school would be the traffic situation.

"It’s a good idea the way they have the parking for the buses," Mrs. Reaper said.

The buses all enter one area, which cannot be accessed by other vehicles.

"But there’s only one accessibility for the students, and it’s also the exit for the buses," Mrs. Reaper said. "That will cause a traffic problem."

Wood hopes to alleviate that potential problem by staggering the times the high school and middle school end class for the day by a few minutes.

Chesapeake Board of Education members are expected to approve the preliminary design plans in February. They will then be sent to the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission, and to the construction manager for approval, Tanner said.

Final plans should be approved no later than the first part of May, he said.

After the plans are approved, the district will advertise for bids and award a contract, McAuliffe said.

"The start of construction should be in July," he said. "They should be ready for use by Sept. 2001. We’ll do the high school at the same time, and, following that, we’ll do the elementary."