New Talawanda school on track for late 2016

Posted at 9:31 AM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 09:31:21-05

OXFORD, Ohio-- A new elementary building in the Talawanda School District is slated to be complete next December.

The building, which will replace Kramer Elementary School, will be the third new facility built in the district in recent years. Bogan Elementary and Talawanda High School, were completed in 2006 and 2012, respectively. Ground was broken for Kramer in August.

The district operates five schools.

“We’re really making progress on our facilities master plan,” said Mike Davis, the district’s treasurer.

Kramer Elementary, at 400 W. Sycamore St. in Oxford, was built in 1962 with an addition in 1969.

“There’ll be a lot of benefits compared to the existing building,” Davis said.

The current building has air-conditioning units in many classrooms but no central cooling system. Classrooms in the new building will feature more natural light and modern heating and cooling, said school board President Mark Butterfield.

Infrastructure will be in place in the new building to accommodate technology that did not exist in the 1960s. “Technology as we know it today didn’t exist (in 1962),” Davis said.

The new building will make it easier for teachers to deliver varied types of instruction as well. Each grade level will have two classrooms connected by sliding glass doors, which will allow for shared and common learning sessions as well as small group settings.

“We already have some of the small-group instruction going on, but it’s going to give us areas where kids can… go and learn where they’re not disrupting others,” said Kramer Elementary Principal Jason Merz. “It’s just a better way to increase instruction time and work with the students.”

Instruction isn’t the only thing that will get a boost in efficiency. Everything from the cafeteria to the student drop-off areas will be designed to get students through the school day more efficiently, Butterfield said.

One efficiency school board members are particularly happy about is the project’s funding. While it carries a price tag of $17.1 million, the construction project required no ballot issue for additional funding.

“We’ve come to realize the advantages of a new facility,” Butterfield said. “What we didn’t want to do is put the burden on taxpayers.”

Of the total, $11.5 million is covered by the state through rebates from the construction on Bogan Elementary and Talawanda High School. The remaining $5.6 million comes from using a combination of existing funds and money from the sale of the district’s old high school to Miami University.

“I think it’s one of the first schools that I’m aware of… that has been constructed without the need of a bond levy,” Butterfield said.

The new school, which is being constructed on the same site as the existing Kramer Elementary, is expected to be completed in mid-December 2016, Davis said. District officials hope to have students moved in to the building by late February of 2017.

Once vacated, the old building will be demolished, and the additional space will be used for parking.