GRAFTON — After a slow start, construction of the new $16.2 million Midview Middle School funded completely by the state is racing along, according to Midview Schools officials.
“With the wet spring, we got behind and had delays,” Superintendent John Kuhn said.
But construction crews “went gangbusters and got back on schedule” after a staging area was paved and lime kiln dust was mixed into the soil to firm it up, Kuhn said.
Kuhn offered a mini-tour of the site Friday along with Susan Bobola, the district’s director of facilities, technology and security.
“It’s crazy to see how much it’s coming out of the ground, even in a day,” Bobola said.
Thousands of tons of steel, blocks and other structural materials are already in place, said construction superintendent Rick Collins. A glimpse of the sharply angled gymnasium walls can be seen from state Route 57, which passes the school complex to the west. When completed next summer, the 77,313-square-foot facility will house about 529 seventh- and eighth-grade students.
Kuhn said the building should be completed in time for the 2012-13 school year.
The school board has instructed Kuhn to hold several tours for the public, including a tour planned 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’re hoping we’ll have people turn out for the tour, but we’re not sure,” Kuhn said.
The class of 2017 is this year’s sixth-grade class and will be the first students to “graduate” from the school.
The class of 2018 is the current fifth-grade class and will be the first class to attend both years at the new middle school. The district and its architectural firm, Lesko Associates Inc. of Westlake, hopes the new school will obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold status.
Some impressive features are the glass on the building’s south side, which will provide natural light and provide passive solar heating. The design incorporates a sharply slanted gymnasium roof that will help to shed snow.
Kuhn said the site did have some wetlands and the district incurred about $100,000 in expenses in order to provide for additional wetlands to replace those being filled. Working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the district also paid about $40,000 to contribute to a wetlands bank to replace other wetlands which were inadvertently filled in during construction of the elementary schools in 2004 and 2005.
Because of the wetlands issue, the district is about a year behind in the construction process. Initially, the goal was to finish the new building by June 2011 and open it this fall.
The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission announced in October 2008 it was releasing $17.2 million to the district for construction of a new middle school or high school.
The district decided to build a middle school because a high school would be more expensive and require passage of a bond issue to fund part of the building.
Kuhn said the district is grateful for the money because the current middle school, which opened in 1955, has some cracks in the brick work and other structural issues that the district is watching closely to ensure the safety of students and staff.
The new middle school will include 18 classrooms, three areas for special education, two art rooms, a music room, four science labs, a computer lab, a media center, a gymnasium and a combined cafeteria and auditorium. The design is organized around a central courtyard with natural light in every classroom.
Kuhn said there are no plans to ask voters to approve additional money to build a new high school. That might not happen for many years, but the eventual plan is to build a new high school, he said.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.