Friday, September 24, 1999

Voters hold key to new high school

Combination bond issue/tax on Nov. ballot

Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — A high school large enough for 1,200 to 1,300 students would be built by Talawanda City Schools if voters approve a combination income tax/bond issue the board has put on the Nov. 2 ballot.

        The school would include a 1,800-seat gymnasium, a cafeteria large enough to feed 600 students at each sitting, and an auditorium with 650 seats. There would be 38 general-use classrooms and 15 designed specifically for science, art, home economics or computer labs, said Mike Dingeld ein, project architect with Steed-Hammond-Paul Inc.

        Mr. Dingeldein presented preliminary design plans to the Talawanda school board this week.

        The design incorporated ideas from teachers, parents, students, administrators and others the architects interviewed through the SchoolHouse of Quality design process.

        “I can see features of Lakota, of Fairfield and of Talawanda” high schools, said William Vollmer, president of the Talawanda Board of Education.Steed-Hammond-Paul designed Lakota's two high schools and Fairfield Senior High School. All three opened in 1997.

        The single ballot issue asks voters to approve both a $34 million bond issue to pay for construction of a new high school, and a 0.75 percent income tax to pay for operating costs and a salary increase for teachers.

        Should the issue pass, the new high school would be built on a 157-acre parcel on Millville-Oxford Road across from the College View Motel. Money from the bond issue portion also would be used to make renovations to other district buildings.

        Talawanda High School would close for a year and then reopen as an elementary school for kindergarten through grade five.

        Students would occupy what is now the academic side of Talawanda High School, Mr. Dingeldein said.

        The cafeteria, auditorium, gymnasium, band and art rooms would be remodeled for community use. An early childhood center for preschool children could be housed in what is now the math wing at the high school.

        Board offices would move into what is now the home economics/industrial arts wing.

        “The broken-up nature of the building that makes it challenging as a high school actually will help us divide it for its new uses,” Mr. Dingeldein said.


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