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Public gets early look at Indian Creek plans

A PRELIMINARY LOOK — Burt Marzley, an architect for Sol Harris/Day, discusses tentative plans for the new Wintersville Elementary School on Thursday. -- Amy Neeley

MINGO JUNCTION — The Indian Creek Local School District held a special meeting Thursday to offer residents a glimpse at some of the tentative plans for the new Indian Creek High School, Wintersville Elementary School and renovations to Hills Elementary School.

Representatives from Sol Harris/Day Architecture were on hand to discuss the project and show off some ideas.

“This is not a blueprint at this point — just an idea,” said Dr. Ted Starkey, school board president.

“It is still early on,” architect Burt Marzley said. “We are in the dreams phase.”

The representatives showed plans for all three schools that concentrated on open floor plans and lots of natural light.

“We are being cognizant that we have lots of open space so you don’t feel restricted,” architect Todd Rainsburg said.

Marzley said there have been many studies that show children do better in school when they feel connected to nature. With that in mind, each plan offered outdoor space that could be used as an outdoor classroom or for events.

Regina Leone, an interior designer with the firm, shared an idea to turn a retaining wall next to the high school into a terrace setting.

She said the students could use the area for outdoor learning or as an amphitheater.

She added some of the science teachers have asked the firm if the stormwater retention area planned for the high school could be turned into a wetland area to enhance their classes.

“What do you need that will help you build the best school for learning?” Marzley asked.

The firm showed some major changes planned for the athletic facilities at the high school.

Rainsberg said the gymnasium would be the largest allowed by state regulations.

The home team will have locker rooms in the building while the visitors will have separate locker rooms outside the school. Plans are to place them where the current concession stand at Kettlewell Memorial Stadium is located.

The home locker rooms also will have a separate entrance so no one will need to enter the school.

“It will be their own kind of portal that we can design for them to go through,” Marzley said.

The firm said because school officials had wanted to add an elevated track to the gymnasium in the future, they are planning to accommodate that.

Marzley said the gym would be sunken into the ground and visitors would go down steps to access it.

The plan allows for the high school band room to be located in the building. The band room currently is in a separate building next to the high school.

And, the school will have its own auditorium.

The plans would separate the academics from the athletics, music department and auditorium with a large atrium-style cafeteria and multipurpose room.

The firm said another priority will be safety.

All the schools will have closed-circuit cameras in the hallways, buzzers to enter the school and the ability to completely lock down the schools if needed.

“Our biggest concern is safety of the students,” Rainsberg said.

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