Students attending Marshall Elementary will soon be able look out the window and watch their new school rise from the ground.
This will be the fourth school built by Talawanda City School District since 2005. Bogan Elementary was finished in 2005 and Kramer Elementary was rebuilt and opened last year. The new high school opened in 2012.
Marshall will feature a variety of upgrades from the old building. However, it will keep the gym, which was built in 2005. The $10.8 million project will include air conditioning for the building instead of window units like those in the old building’s classrooms.
“Now, the hallways, restrooms, the kitchen and the cafeteria do not have air conditioning, so that’s huge,” said Mike Davis, Talawanda’s treasurer.
With around 500 students in the building, the new school will have three classrooms for each grade level, as well as one for pre-K.
According to Davis, top requests from the staff at the existing Marshall included cabinets for the students to stow their bags and coats in the classrooms and interactive touch-screen computer monitors on wheels.
These upgrades make it easier for the teachers to rearrange their classrooms to accommodate different lessons.
Marshall principal Chad Hinton said he was most excited about the flexible learning environments that the new school will provide for the students.
“The new building will provide opportunities for students to learn in comfortable, inviting and flexible spaces, also allowing for growing possibilities for the use of technology and collaboration between classrooms,” said Hinton.
This project was funded without presenting any new taxes to the Talawanda community. Thirty-one percent of the project is being paid for by the state of Ohio through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission’s Expedited Local Partnership Program.
According to Davis, the district borrowed another $8 million, which it will pay back over time with existing tax revenues. The district funded the rest of the project with its share of state construction production funds.
Ed Theroux, Talawanda’s new superintendent, said that while planning for the school was far along when he joined the district, the project is something he takes pride in.
“I’ve joined in and I’m working with our treasurer and our architects,” Theroux said. “One thing that’s amazing about Talawanda is we have done all of the elementary buildings and we have not gone to taxpayers for a levy to pay for that.”
A requirement to receive state funding for the project is to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver standards. Talawanda High School met LEED’s gold standards.
“With each step up [in LEED], it involves considerably more money,” Davis said.
The LEED program is a point system that allows school districts to plan each requirement they will receive points for. An example would be offering parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.
The new Marshall Elementary is expected to open in the fall of 2020.