Now that Upper Arlington's School Levy (Issue 43) passed with 54% of the votes, Pencilstorm reached out to Upper Arlington Superintendent Paul Imhoff and Treasurer/Chief Finance Officer Andy Geistfeld with five questions about what will happen next. Their unedited answers are posted below.
Now that the levy has passed, what are the next steps?
It’s important to remember that none of the projects has been designed yet. The next step is launching a community-based design phase for the six schools that are to be renovated or rebuilt.
Community involvement was the key to the success of our master planning process, and we believe that will be true with the design phase, too. We’re sticking with the theme “your voice matters,” and we’ll be holding community meetings and asking for volunteers to be on building design teams and a district-wide green team.
The design phase will last about 12 to 15 months, and only then, once we have community-developed design plans for each of the six buildings, will we break ground — tentatively in early 2019.
In terms of timeline, which buildings will be worked on first? Do you have an estimate on when each will be finished? In addition, when will all day kindergarten start?
Tentatively, in early 2019, we’ll break ground first on a renovated Barrington and Tremont elementary school; a new Greensview and Wickliffe Progressive elementary school; and a new high school. The exception there is Windermere. We won’t be able to break ground on Windermere until the fall of 2020. And that’s because we’ll build a new Windermere on the footprint of the old building.
A renovated Barrington and Tremont and a new Greensview and Wickliffe will open to students tentatively in the fall of 2020. While the new Windermere is being built, students from that school will be educated in the old Wickliffe building. Then, a new Windermere and high school will tentatively open the next fall, in 2021. All construction on the high school site will be finished by the fall of 2022, with the athletic fields and support spaces completed and the old building demolished.
The plan is to add enough space at the elementary schools through these projects to accommodate both our enrollment growth and a future all-day kindergarten program.
How can the community get involved in the next stages of planning?
We’ll be having community-wide meetings to launch the design phase in December, and we’ll be setting the date for that in the coming days. We’ll offer both a morning and an evening option as we did during the master planning process. Community members can watch their mailboxes and our website, www.uaschools.org/facilities, for more information.
We will also be reaching out to community members about more opportunities to get involved, including building design teams and a “green team” that will explore environmental best practices for the new or renovated buildings. Neighbors living in close proximity to the buildings can also join a neighbor committee to share feedback and offer guidance throughout the design phase and construction process.
Which high school sports will be impacted by the construction and at what point will they need to be moved to a temporary facility?
Our goal is to minimize the impact the construction will have on our extracurricular activities. The new turf field, baseball field and softball field to be built on the land behind Tremont Elementary School will definitely help with that. However, we do anticipate that baseball, softball, tennis, and track and field will have to be temporarily relocated during construction.
Let’s talk money. How will you look for savings and if there’s any extra money, what will you do with it? (Answer from Andy and Paul)
We will look for savings during each step of the community design process.
If funds remain after the projects are completed, those funds would be used to reduce the amount collected from residents to pay annual debt amount.
Pencilstorm would like to thank Paul and Andy for taking the time to answer our questions. For more information about the construction visit: www.uaschools.org/facilities.
Local UA Politics coverage provided by Wal Ozello. You can email him at Pencilstormstory@gmail.com or try to catch him at Colin's Coffee.