Since the passage of a bond issue in May, the Miami Trace Local School District has been working closely with the Ohio Facility Construction Commission (OFCC) to set the final project budget and select an architect for the new high school construction.
The 3.9-mill, 37-year bond issue passed at the special election, setting in motion the building design phase for a new high school, which will be located on a nearly 60-acre piece of farmland to the east of the football stadium. The new high school will replace the existing high school that opened in 1962.
The community may see “dirt beginning to move in late 2016,” according to district officials, with a goal of opening the facility to students in January 2019. “The goal is to build a facility that is traditional, but also gives us the educational flexibility that we will need into the future,” said Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis.
In late September, the district named SHP Leading Design as the architect for the project. The district has a long relationship with SHP, dating back to 2000, according to Miami Trace Business Manager Bill Franke. SHP was the architect for the new elementary and middle schools, as well as the central office and transportation facility.
“We are excited to continue this relationship for our new high school,” said Franke.
Following the selection, SHP officials began working closely with district staff to develop all of the desired features of the new school and to determine how education will be delivered in a modern 21st century high school. This process has required numerous meetings with high school staff members and officials from OFCC to ensure that the early design process remains within guidelines in terms of educational requirements and overall building size.
Now, the project is beginning to enter the schematic design phase, according to district officials. This is the earliest stage of building design.
“We hope to have a basic floor plan of the building developed by February,” said Franke. “Once completed, staff members will gather once again to review the initial plan and provide feedback to the design team.”
There have been several meetings to discuss sustainability goals for the new high school as part of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. This program is designed to incorporate features in a facility that promote energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and increase indoor air-quality for students and staff. The Miami Trace Middle School received a rating of “LEED Gold” for the district’s efforts on that project.
District officials and SHP site designers have also been working with officials from Fayette County and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to see what may be done to improve the traffic congestion in and around the central campus. The district has contracted with a firm to conduct a detailed traffic study of the area to determine the best way to proceed. “There is also a large focus on how the new high school may be tied into the existing campus infrastructure and how this may impact traffic flow for cars and school buses,” said Franke.
The district received proposals from 11 firms to serve as the Construction Manager at Risk (CMr) for the project. The role of the CMr will be to actually build the new building. District and OFCC officials ranked the firms and narrowed the list to four finalists. These firms will make formal presentations in mid-January that will outline their plans for the project.
The four firms will then be ranked by district and OFCC officials and a final selection for the CMr will be made. “It is our hope that this process will be completed by early February 2016,” said Franke.
Franke said there have been many things going on behind the scenes as the district works toward the day when ground is broken on the new school. “It is critical that we spend the time to get this right as it will serve our high school students for decades into the future,” said Franke.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica.