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Indian Creek unveils designs for new school buildings

A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE — The public had a chance to view designs for the new Indian Creek High School, elementary school and renovations to Hills Elementary before Thursday’s regular school board session. Architects also shared a virtual presentation of the work that is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2021. Assistant Superintendent John Belt is among those who reviewed the designs. -- Contributed

MINGO JUNCTION — School officials and members of the community got their first glimpse of the future school buildings in the Indian Creek Local School District after architects unveiled designs on Thursday.

Representatives from Sol Harris/Day Architecture of North Canton appeared prior to the regular school board session at Indian Creek Middle School and gave a virtual tour of the estimated $63 million project that will create new high school and elementary buildings in Wintersville and upgrade Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction.

The work was made possible after voters approved a 6.1-mill bond issue that appeared on the May 7, 2018, ballot

Domenic Ferrant, a partner in the firm, said the company has collected a lot of input from staff, teachers and administrators to incorporate into the designs, and the goal is to offer a great place for students to learn.

“It’s about the district,” he said. “We really want to base it on how you want to deliver education.”

John Kirkpatrick of Hammond Construction Inc. of Canton, construction manager of the project, said bids for early sitework on the new ICHS will be taken and awarded in October, with related construction to occur from November through April. The main construction bids will be accepted in February and be awarded in March, when work will begin. It is anticipated construction will be completed in July 2021, and the current high school will be demolished that fall.

Melinda Scalfaro of the architectural firm offered details about the two-story structure, saying it would be built on a current multi-purpose field near Kettlewell Memorial Stadium.

The site incorporates classrooms with collaboration areas for a more modern look and includes a gymnasium, an estimated 800-seat auditorium, a cafeteria and commons area, cafe-style library and band room with locker room facilities available for gym classes and sporting events.

Science and math classrooms are located on the lower level with the social studies and English classrooms on the upper floor.

All of the areas include secure doors.

The site will feature a special tiered seating areas for classes and presentations. Entry will be through the southeast corner, with the main office able to view any visitors coming onto the site. A secure vestibule will be included.

The board office will be housed at the building and will have a separate entry.

School colors will be depicted through the use of red brick and gold metal, and Scalfaro said the firm was looking at efficient ways to maximize funding.

“We are early in the design,” she added. “We just finished the schematic design and are starting to get into details. Nothing is final, but we’re trying to give you a flavor of what it will look like at the new high school.”

She said the present band room would be converted into a multipurpose building, and the older high school structure would remain in operation throughout the construction phase.

Kirkpatrick added subcontract bids for early sitework on the new elementary school and demolition of the Bantam Ridge building will be taken and awarded this October with early sitework construction to begin between November and April.

Construction bids will be taken in February and awarded in March, with work getting under way in the spring and concluding in August 2021. The current Wintersville Elementary, the old Buchanan building, will be razed that fall.

Burt Marzley of Sol Harris/Day explained the new elementary building will be built on land behind the current school board office on Bantam Ridge Road.

The two-story structure will have separate access for buses and passenger vehicles for student drop-offs and pickups and the bus loop will be closed off by gates for safety purposes when not in use.

Visitors will enter through a secure vestibule outside the main office. The preschool is housed in the front of the building with its own playground, while the kindergarten and first-grade classes will be located on the lower floor, with the second- to fourth-grade classrooms on the upper level.

A separate playground will be constructed at the rear of the building for the upper grade levels to utilize. Marzley said students will share a cafeteria and commons area, a small group rooms and tiered seating area for classes and presentations, a media center and an auditorium which connects to the band room for music classes.

The softball field will be moved with a Little League field to be built on the grounds.

Safety is a primary issue, and Marzley said the building will feature secure doors and separate access points to deliver and collect students.

“The steering committee (which is comprised of school and community members) has guided the design process,” he said. “The school is also designed to stage kids on buses in the gym and kids riding with parents in the cafeteria so you can dismiss them at separate ends of the building. We’ve been meeting with the security team and local law enforcement to establish a safety plan for the buildings. We will start meetings with the staff and teachers when the new school year begins.”

Hills Elementary will receive updated plumbing, heating and cooling systems, a new roof, Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility and a reorganization of rooms.

Marzley said the exterior trailers will be removed and the building will have a more efficient layout.

The main office will be located in the current media center while the main entry will be refreshed and special classes are contained in one area.

Subcontractor bids would be taken in April and awarded that May, with work on the first phase set to begin in the phase one in the summer of 2020. Officials are possibly looking to complete the second phase in the evening while school is in session from September 2020 to May 2021. The final phase would occur during the summer of 2021. Work should be complete by August 2021.

The school board approved the schematic phase and budget during the regular session immediately following the presentation, and Superintendent T.C. Chappelear said it was a sign of great things to come for Indian Creek schools.

“We’re really excited to keep moving forward,” Chappelear concluded. “You can look at (the design phase) as the end of the beginning.”

Members of the public can provide feedback by completing an online survey at solhd.typeform.com/to/ryEPet.

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