New BWHS contracts approved


In a special meeting on Aug. 29, the Big Walnut Board of Education approved a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract amendment on the new high school with Gilbane Building Company.

For more than two hours, there was discussion on a list of cost-cutting measures to keep the project on budget and on time. The discussions ranged from types of materials used to changes in kitchen equipment, the arrangement of parking spaces, procuring broadband services, the look of the commons area, and classroom dividers.

The board voted 4-1, with Liana Lee, Mindy Meyer, Brad Schneider and Andy Wecker voting in favor, and Doug Crowl voting against. Crowl said he wanted more time to consider the amendment.

In a typical GMP contract, the customer pays the contractor the costs of the project and a decided-upon profit. The contractor has to pay for overruns, but cost under-runs are reimbursed to the customer.

In November 2017, voters approved a bond issue/permanent improvement levy that included the construction of a new elementary school named Prairie Run and a new high school; and security updates to existing buildings. There was a groundbreaking for Prairie Run this spring. The building should be enclosed this winter, and it is expected to open in August 2020.

In a document on the district’s site, the “Opinion of Probable Cost” on the new high school to be built in Sunbury is a total of roughly $87.8 million. Those costs include a 325,000-square-feet building for 1,851 students at $55.8 million; site work of $7 million; an auditorium of $1.8 million; the Ohio Capital Conference-compatible athletic facilities $8.4 million; and non-construction costs (design services, legal fees, building permits, insurance, etc.) of $12 million; site acquisition of $2 million; and nearly $900,000 for utility and septic.

A groundbreaking for the new high school — to be built at the northern edge of Sunbury, roughly between the Vineyard Church of Delaware County and the Sunbury Water Tower (located north of both) — is anticipated later this fall, with the building enclosed in the winter of 2020. It is expected to open in August of 2022.

Eventually, the present high school will become the district’s middle school, the present middle school will become the intermediate school (for fifth and sixth graders), and the present intermediate school will become an elementary school.

To see a video on a conceptualized version of the new high school’s design, visit

The board also voted unanimously on an access and sanitary sewer agreement.

The board next meets at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 12 and 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19, both in the Administrative District Office, 110 Tippett Court, Sunbury.

An overhead view of the plans for the new Big Walnut High School. overhead view of the plans for the new Big Walnut High School. Courtesy drawing | BWLSD

By Gary Budzak

[email protected]

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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