17th elementary on its way


During Thursday’s meeting of the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) Board of Education, an update was provided on the second of two new elementary schools that were to be developed as a result of the district’s successful levy campaign in 2020.

Shale Meadows Elementary opened ahead of the 2021-22 school year, representing the school’s 16th elementary building in an increasingly expansive network of schools. Now, work is nearly set to begin on the 17th school, and Fanning Howey’s Bruce Runyon highlighted what can be expected from the building.

The site of the new elementary school, which spans approximately 20 acres, will be located on the southwest corner of Piatt and Peachblow roads in Berlin Township. Runyon said the existence of the railroad tracks that cross Peachblow Road, directly west of the site, has forced much of the school closer to Piatt Road. As a result, both entrances to the site will be located off Piatt Road.

Runyon also noted Delaware County’s anticipation of a roundabout being constructed at the corner of Peachblow and Piatt roads in the near future, which has been taken into consideration with the school’s plans.

As has often been the case when building new facilities in the district, the new elementary will have the same footprint as the recently constructed Shale Meadows.

Currently, the project is out to bid for the site work, Runyon said. As a result, the costs for the project is still unknown. A guaranteed maximum price for the project is expected to be given to the district next month. However, he added there are “lots” of offsite utilities that need to be brought to the site, which is a shared cost with the developer. Widening of Piatt Road between the two access points to the school will also need to be done, he said.

“This will be a good site,” Runyon said. “The thing that this site has is this is in the upper tier of the number of parking spaces that we’ve been able to develop in elementary sites pretty much throughout the district. And this is probably the best site we’ve had in terms of being able to stack cars for parent pickup and dropoff on the site, so that is a big improvement we’ve been working quite a bit on here.”

As for the building itself, Runyon said it will be “Shale Meadows with modest improvements,” noting Shale Meadows was also constructed with significant improvements over the elementary schools that came before it. Perhaps the biggest improvement that came with the construction of Shale Meadows, which will be continued with the new building, is creating additional academic space.

“One of the first meetings (OLSD Director of Business Management) Mr. (Jeff) Gordon and I had was with Dr. (Jack) Fette and Principal (Greta) Gnagy of Shale Meadows to ask how the building has worked,” he said. “The biggest thing you wanted to do when you did Shale Meadows was to increase academic space, and that was a big hit.”

The updated media center and the addition of dedicated structured learning classrooms have also been a hit in Shale Meadows, he said, which will be included in the new school.

In total, the building will include eight early-learning classrooms, 27 elementary classrooms, and two structured learning classrooms.

Runyon noted there were a couple of “small issues” raised in discussions about the function of Shale Meadows that will be incorporated into the plans for the new school. The biggest, he said, was increasing the size of the security vestibule in the school while also adding to its function.

Site work for the new school is expected to begin on April 4, Runyon added.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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