By Carol McIntire
A longtime dream that turned into a vision and developed into a plan is about to come true for Carrollton Schools.
The Ohio Controlling Board last week released the first payment of state funds under the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for the construction of a new school on SR 332 south of Carrollton.
“This is a great day for the students, staff and community of the Carrollton Exempted Village School District,” said Superintendent Dr. David Quattrochi. “Since the day I was hired here, my goal has been to give the students of Carroll County an opportunity to stay in Carroll County if they so desire and to make a good living.”
Both Quattrochi and Director of Programs Ed Robinson acknowledged the foresight and creativity that went into the project.
“The forward thinking of former superintendent Larry Pontuti to purchase this farm 25 years ago was incredible,” said Robinson. “I’m sure he took a lot of heat at that time, but how many school districts today get the opportunity to build a new school and not have to buy land?”
The 61 percent local share of the $38 million Segment One cost is coming from Carroll County Energy in the form a yearly payment of $1.3 million for 30 years negotiated by Quattrochi. “We are building a new school without going to the taxpayers for a levy,” he said.
The first payment of $488,000 will be used for design and pre-construction services. Robinson said the land survey is complete and soil borings are underway on the land where the school will be constructed. Robinson said the goal is to tie the new school campus into the football field.
“We would like to build a locker room on the west end of the football field and tie that into the campus entrance,” he said. “We already have an entrance to the property which we could use as an entrance to the campus. The plan is to extend that driveway around the back of the campus and use the lower drive at the ball fields to complete the loop.”
The architect for the project, Lesko Architecture of Cleveland, developed a plan for a 243,428 square foot campus designed with separate pods for elementary, middle and high schools. The pods will connect to a central cafeteria, kitchen, gymnasiums and auditorium. The learning spaces are flexible, adaptable and sustainable to support the district’s collaborative, student-centered and problem-based approach to learning, according to Robinson.
“We already have the POWER (Providing Opportunities with Exceptional Results) Center and great outdoor learning stations on the farm and we want to continue to use the four miles of trails constructed under the guidance of Amy Miller and improve upon them,” Robinson said. “We want to utilize our beautiful surroundings in our educational program. How many schools get to do that?”
Quattrochi said segment one includes a building for grades 9-12 but noted that will change this fall and plans are to construct a building for grades 6-12.
See NEW SCHOLL, A-5
The building will include classrooms, or pods as they are now called, two gymnasiums, an auditorium with 500-550 seats, a centralized kitchen and two eating areas.
At this point, the plan is to bring PreK-5 students from Augusta and Dellroy into Carrollton and move all students into the high school building, but preserve the elementary building for the time being, since it is connected to the high school. The plan is to demolish the Bell-Herron building, but preserve the new Bell-Herron gym.
Quattrochi said additional discussion is needed on the future of the Fine Arts Wing at the high school, once a new elementary pod is constructed at the new site.
“We also need to have discussion about the present buildings at the farm, which include the house and the barn,” he said. “Robinson said the goal is to incorporate the history and possibly some of the materials from both buildings into the new school. The farm was established in 1872 and we understand the importance of history and want to preserve it.”
Working with Lesko, the goal is to share plans with teachers when they return to school this fall, have the final design completed by end of October, break ground in March 2017 and open the building to students for the 2018-19 school year.
There is no timetable for the completion of Segment II at this time. “The cost of the entire campus is about $60 million at this time,” said Robinson. “Our goal, of course, is to begin construction as soon as possible, to keep the cost as close to that as possible, but we will have to secure funding for that segment prior to construction.”