By Mary Smith
Weathersfield Local Schools will have a groundbreaking ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Seaborn Elementary School, 3800 Niles-Carver Road, to kick off a $25.4 million demolition, renovation and new building project.
Demolition at the high school and Seaborn is to begin June 3. Construction is expected to start Sept. 14.
The project is funded by a $17.8 million Ohio Schools Facilities Commission grant and a $7.5 million local share. An additional $529,139 was added in local funds to help pay for construction of a $1.5 million junior-high gymnasium at the high school.
“We are exceptionally excited about this wonderful opportunity,” schools Superintendent Damon Dohar said. “It’s a dream come true, and we can’t thank the state or the community enough.”
Dohar noted that the district and students will have two brand new buildings, once demolition, remodeling and additions are done.
Seaborn Elementary School will have 46 percent of the building demolished and renovated, and an addition totaling 60,000 square feet will be made to the building, which will become a K-6 building instead of a K-4 building.
The middle school is to be demolished in the winter of 2015, except for the administrative offices, cafeteria and the bus garage.
Demolition and construction are planned at the high school, which will become a grades 7 through 12 building. The high school size will increase from 83,000 square feet to 90,000 square feet.
Nine new classrooms are planned for the junior high wing, along with the construction of a new gym for junior high students.
The remainder of the building will be renovated.
The district had been considered a “lapsed” district, since it previously was approved for a $19 million OSFC grant in 2009, but was unable after four tries to get voters to approve a local levy to pay for the district’s portion.
Voters approved a 6.9-mill bond issued in March 2012 to generate $551,235 a year to pay the district’s $9.6 million share. An additional 0.5-mill levy was approved for maintenance of the construction for 30 years, which will generate $79,954 a year.
“We’re living the dream,” schools Treasurer Laurena Rouan said. She noted as soon as students leave from their last day of school May 30 and teachers leave May 31, tape will go up to cordon off areas for the work to begin.
Dohar added that there will be an “immense” amount of technological updates for staff and students in both buildings. Both schools will be wireless, and, he said, the district hopes to be able to give each student a tablet. Amplification for all classrooms in which the teacher uses a microphone also is planned.
Seaborn students in grades K-6 will have classes at the Mineral Ridge Middle School for the 2013-14 school year. Seaborn is expected to reopen in fall 2014. Junior high students will have classes in a modular unit at the high school from September to January 2014 and then move into the high-school building.