WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Even though the first day of classes for students in Champion is Tuesday, the district was discussing plans for the new pre-kindergarten through 8th grade building expected to be ready in 2018.
The $31 million project will bring all of the students onto one campus, instead of being spread out in a five-mile radius.
Three of Jennifer Nolan’s children will attend the new Champion Middle School when it is completed. She was one of many parents at the presentation of the school’s plan Monday evening.
“It’s unbelievable the things they’re going to be able to do in this building,” she said.
The new building will sit just south of the high school on Mahoning Avenue in Warren, built on a 21-acre open field.
One of the schools it replaces is Central Elementary, which is a 100-year-old building with several foundation issues.
School Board President David Mahan says having all of the students in one location will make it safer for everyone.
“If they have to evacuate, they can get out of one school into another school, instead of out in the middle of a field.”
The school’s architect, Brett Hendricks, says the district is around 35 percent complete.
Right now, the design has a two-story middle school for grades 5 through 8, and a one-story elementary school from kindergarten through 4th grade. Those grades will be on complete opposite sides of each other in the new school.
“What’s special about this project is the district has really embraced the commission’s high-performance learning environment, which allows the students to learn anywhere in the building, so we have a lot of ELAs,” Hendricks said.
ELAs are Extended Learning Areas, which are large areas outside of classrooms where classes that are normally separate can collaborate for big projects.
In front of the building will be a large area to make dropping students off easier. The school will have “q-lanes” to keep a good flow of traffic and separate cars and school buses.
Mahan says middle school science teachers are excited about the wetlands that will be behind the new school because it will give them a new place to teach outside the classroom.
Some early site work is expected to be done in September and construction will begin in the spring of 2017.