Ground is nearly ready to be broken on the Olentangy Local School District’s sixth middle school, the district announced Wednesday. In a press release, the district said a ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 27, at the 45-acre site located on Piatt Road.
The land, which was purchased from the Katter family, sits just south of Berlin High School in Berlin Township. While a name has not yet been selected for the middle school, the 156,700-square-foot school will be similar in design to the district’s other middle schools.
Funding for the district’s sixth middle school comes from the bond portion of the district’s recent ballot issue, which was approved by the communities last year and included an operating levy of 7.4 mills, a permanent improvement levy of 0.5 mills, and a 30-year, $134.7 million bond issue. The middle school project is expected to cost approximately $46 million.
The bond has also funded Shale Meadows Elementary School, which is nearing completion ahead of the 2021-22 school year, as well as an additional elementary school that is expected to be constructed in 2024.
Upon completion, the building will mark the first new middle school in the district since Berkshire Middle School opened in 2011. As enrollment figures continue to rise each year, and with the district expecting to surpass 25,000 total students by the 2026-27 school year, the need for additional classrooms also continues to rise.
Specifically in the district’s middle schools, enrollment numbers have risen above the 5,000-student mark, up from 3,900 middle school students at the time of Berkshire’s opening. According to the press release, OLSD’s middle school enrollment is expected to be around 6,500 students by the 2030-31 school year.
“The addition of a sixth middle school to the district will provide the necessary relief needed on the growing enrollment in our current middle schools, particularly in the northeast region,” said OLSD Superintendent Mark Raif in the press release. “Middle School 6 will be the district’s third new building in the past five years, and I continue to be proud of the support of our students by our community.”
The school board has hired Robertson Construction Services to serve as construction manager for the project. During today’s meeting of the Olentangy Board of Education, the board is expected to approve a $6,051,723 contract with Robertson for construction manager at risk services.