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Indian Creek gives virtual tour of building projects

MINGO JUNCTION — School officials and community members took a virtual tour of new and renovated buildings included in Indian Creek Local Schools’ estimated $63 million construction project on Dec. 19.

Representatives of Sol Harris/Day Architecture Inc. of North Canton and construction manager Hammond Construction Inc. of Canton attended the regular school board session at Indian Creek Middle School, where they led an hour-long presentation on the nearly completed designs for the new Indian Creek High School and Cross Creek Elementary in Wintersville and updates at Hills Elementary in Mingo Junction. The project is in collaboration with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the school board later accepted the design development phase submitted for the new buildings, in addition to an agreement with Sol Harris/Day totaling $154,629 for local funded initiative design services for the new high school campus.

Architects Burt Marzley and Melinda Scalfaro gave overviews of the Wintersville buildings and said they have been working with school officials to fine-tune plans. Marzley kicked off the presentation with a 3-D rendering of Cross Creek Elementary, which will be located at the current school board office on Bantam Ridge Road. The two-story structure will incorporate natural elements and modern features to promote an inviting atmosphere for learning.

“As we began to look at the elementary school, we wanted to pull in a lot of fun things on the inside,” he explained, adding that the site would feature plenty of colors, textures and designs to stimulate the minds of its young inhabitants.

The front of the building is one story and has plenty of windows for office members to view the premises, while visitors will enter through a secured vestibule and check-in station. Preschool classes will be located on the first floor near the main entrance while kindergarten and first grade will be housed in another section on that level. Grades 2-4 will be lodged upstairs, but Marzley said all grades will incorporate open areas surrounded by classrooms to create cozy community spaces. The school will also have a dining commons area and two separate playgrounds, with the preschool play area in the front of the building and upperclassmen enjoying their own space with a basketball court in the northwestern section of the property.

A media center overlooks the commons area and the stage can be accessed via a movable wall. He added that the academic wings will be able to be locked down by use of a security button during emergencies or after-school events to prohibit public access. The first-grade will include an open space surrounded by four or more classrooms and a central restroom, as well as movable walls to increase the space and lockers inside all of the classrooms. The kindergarten area is similar except it includes a makerspace area. Speech, multi-handicapped classrooms, art rooms and the gym are among the other areas located on the lower level.

A similar layout may be found upstairs with the open spaces, classrooms and central restroom area, but it features a collaboration stair for groups to practice presentations or use for education, while the media center includes a Start room and reading nook.

“One thing that was important to you is the collaborative area. We will have a staff work area so the staff can share ideas,” he commented. “We’ve had some meetings with staff and everybody seems to be excited about (the building.)”

Scalfaro outlined details for Indian Creek High School, which will be located next to Kettlewell Stadium on the Wintersville campus. She said the project will pose some challenges since the current ICHS and Wintersville Elementary School and stadium will remain operational for much of the construction period.

Like Cross Creek Elementary, the updated ICHS will be a two-story structure, but access will be unique in that students will enter through the second floor. The main entrance is at the center of the building with a clear view from the office, while visitors will be required to stop in a secure vestibule before gaining admittance. A conference area is also located across from the office to use as a community room.

The site will reflect the school brand with a logo and plenty of red and gold features depicting Indian Creek’s official colors, while the exterior also boasts an outdoor learning area for classes to utilize during good weather days.

The interior includes classrooms with collaboration areas for a more modern look plus a gymnasium, an estimated 960-seat gym, a 700-seat auditorium, a cafeteria/commons area, cafe-style library and band room. Meanwhile, the science and math classes will be located on the lower level with the social studies and English classrooms on the upper floor and all of the areas have secure doors and a similar layout, while the science classes include movable walls so classes may do labs together.

The band room will have plenty of space for band practice and storage, as well as access to the stadium to perform at events. Scalfaro added that home sports teams could access locker rooms near the gym for athletic events while the visiting team will use a separate locker room to be constructed at the stadium. A new ticket booth, concession stand and restrooms will also be included in the latter project.

More features include space for a school store and a ticket booth for games in the gym or events in the auditorium, plus an open media center, weight room, intervention classrooms, consumer science and multi-handicapped rooms and special tiered seating area for classes and presentations. Meanwhile, the board office will also be housed at the building complete with its own entrance. The academic wings may be locked down for emergencies or events and a stairwell connects all four quadrants of the building so students may travel between floors for classes.

“We are using every square foot of the building for learning,” Scalfaro said. “We’ve been working on more and more details and will be doing our 75-percent documents. We’ll turn those over to Hammond in January with our 100-percent documents in February, and then we’re set to start in the spring.”

Marzley returned to discuss work at Hills, which will undergo an estimated $10 million renovation project and receive new windows, roofing and classrooms as well as plumbing, heating and cooling upgrades. The main office will move to the front of the building at the current media center site, which will provide easier access and more security, while the restrooms will be removed and space formed for a clinic. The present office area then will be remodeled into classrooms and the special classes such as Start, music, art, gym and the media center will be located in the center of the school. Other improvements include open spaces, handicapped-accessible doorways and a dining commons area, while the exterior will feature new sidewalks, parking spaces and new canopies at the front and rear of the structure bearing the school logo.

“We’re trying to make this feel more like what we’re doing with the other elementary,” he noted. “We’re going to do as much as we can down there to fit into the budget.”

John Kirkpatrick of Hammond Construction noted that the main bids will be accepted in February with awards in March. Work would immediately follow and last through July 2021.

“During this phase of design, we’ve worked with Sol Harris/Day and looked at everything exhaustively (because we) want to make sure the projects start this spring and are on budget,” Kirkpatrick said.

Superintendent T.C. Chappelear was excited for the future of the Indian Creek Local School District.

“Hammond and Sol Harris/Day have been great to work with. We’ve been through the schematic phase and design development phase and we’re looking at April to break ground.”

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