Talawanda to Get an Upgraded Elementary School

By Halie Barger

Students attending Marshall Elementary will soon be able look out the window and watch their new school rise from the ground.

It will be the fourth school building project in Talawanda City School District since 2005, when Bogan Elementary was built. A new high school opened in 2012, and a new Kramer Elementary opened on the site of the old one last year.

The new version of Marshall, expected to open in fall 2020, will feature a variety of upgrades. However, it will keep its old gym, which was built in 2005. The $10.8 million project will include air conditioning for the building instead of window units such as those in the current 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 and one for Pre-K.

According to Davis, top requests from the staff at the existing Marshall were cabinets for the students to stow their bags and coats in the classrooms, as well as interactive touch-screen computer monitors on wheels.

Upgrades such as these make it easier for the teachers to rearrange their classrooms to accommodate different lessons.

The project was funded without presenting any new taxes to the Talawanda community. The state of Ohio pays for 31% of the project through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission Expedited Local Partnership Program.

Davis said the district borrowed another $8 million that it plans to pay off over time with existing tax revenues. The district paid for the rest of the project with its share of state construction production funds.  

Superintendent Ed Theroux 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 the 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” during construction, Davis said.

The LEED program is a point system that allows school districts to plan each requirement they will receive points for.  An example of such a requirement would be offering parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.