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Crestview forges ahead with plans for new school

NEW WATERFORD — Crestview Local Schools continued the process toward breaking ground next spring to build a new school, despite the obstacles put in the way by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unable to gather to meet in their current facility, the school board conducted a virtual community meeting with the architects from Holabird and Root and BSHM on Monday night, which capped several meetings the architects recently have had with the staff and others involved in the building committee.

Superintendent Matthew Manley pointed out the schools and architects are working collaboratively with the state, trying to get the funding released by the spring of 2021 so work can begin. He believes the project could be a boost to the recovery of the local economy, giving many local workers a chance at gainful employment.

During Monday’s public online meeting, Eric Risinger showed the board new sketches of the pods, the common areas and other parts of the layout of the building. He talked about some of the important features added following discussions with the teachers, including restrooms in every pod so students do not have to leave the area.

Each pod will have four classrooms per grade level and two grade levels sharing the pod. Each teacher will be assigned a classroom and be able to use the common learning space as well. Additionally, there are small rooms set aside in each pod for tutoring or extra help for students requiring special education.

On the second floor, for fire safety there will be two sets of stairs available for the students, one outside the pod section in the main corridor and one inside the pod, which would lead down to another pod below.

The presentation also took the board inside the new performance gym, which will have a full size gymnasium for games where seats can line both sides and a track above, which will circle not just that gymnasium but an additional area. That area could be a place where the band could perform during the game below or extra standing-room spectators could watch.

When the seats are pushed back and counting another gymnasium in another part of the building, it was noted there could be five practice courts available. Additionally, under the additional gyms there would be a locker room facility and a room dedicated to wrestling.

The upper level band space would be at that end of the building, with a place to drive up closer to make it easy to load equipment. It would also be near the football stadium but away from the Performing Arts Center.

Dan Simmons, one of the members of the building committee, asked about consideration for high school students and small elementary students occupying the same spaces on the way to the cafeteria areas. Simmons pointed out a high school student can be very intimidating to a first grader. While it was noted there are some instances where high school students have been good role models for younger students and they want them to interact, Manley said he also believes it will be a matter of balancing schedules well to manage the spaces.

At one point, Monday’s meeting had to be stopped and restarted after a hacker broke into the meeting, interrupting the presentation with obscenities.

During the regular board meeting that followed, the board voted to make a payment to Holabird and Root LLC of $126,035 for services during this design phase process.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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