The Chillicothe R-2 School District has been busy with plans to build a new elementary school since 2015, when the district and architects began to hold community forums to establish the needs of the community.

The Chillicothe R-2 School District has been busy with plans to build a new elementary school since 2015, when the district and architects began to hold community forums to establish the needs of the community. After those needs were established, designs began in February 2016, the bond issue was voted on in April and the project went to bid in May. After an estimated $2 million architectural design error that had to do with excavation, site preparation and a change in the physical location of the building in August 2016, value engineering began to trim out expenses to get under budget. That, and some funding assistance led by local foundations, private donors and contributors, finally led to a December groundbreaking. Though construction of the new school building will take all of 2017, the Chillicothe elementary school – which will house preschool, kindergarten and first-grade classes – is expected to be ready by May 2018, just in time to utilize the summer break to settle in. On Wednesday, builders gave a progress report of the project to local foundation, city and county officials. The original total project was estimated at $16,811,032. Revenues from bond sales, CMU utilities, the Road Fund and donations came out to $18,022,982, but projected costs for the overall project will end up at $17,755,149. Of that, the new elementary school costs are currently projected at $15,726,532. The overall project consists of several upgrades and renovations at Dewey School, Grand River Technical School, Chillicothe High School, Chillicothe Middle School, Field School and the demolition of Central and Garrison schools. At Dewey School, the project consists of upgrading the playground and bathrooms in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That cost is currently projected at $166,925. The playground is under construction now and should be completed next week. The upgrades at Grand River Technical School are all technology based improvements that are currently projected at $292,996. Dean Peyton, a 33-year veteran of the roofing industry, is a volunteer consultant to the district and gave a presentation describing the issues that came about for the high school roof failing and why the new roof would service the school better and longer. In his inspection of the old roof, it was determined that the faulty application was detrimental to the roof. The original roof, which had a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty, only guaranteed product and materials and not the application process. With current images from the roof as it is, Peyton covered in great detail, specific issues all pertaining to the old roof. With the new roof system, the 20-year manufacturer warranty does, in fact, cover the application. Almost an acre of roof, this project is currently projected at $791,164. At the middle school, a 175-foot hallway connecting the east and west buildings is complete. The hallway is somewhat conditioned with fans and heated for winter. In cold temperatures, the hallway will maintain at about 50-60 degrees, rather than the students walking outside to get from building to building. The hallway has four heat units that are thermostat controlled and energy efficient. They also ran the fiber optic lines through the passage to improve connectivity throughout the buildings. The projected costs for the middle school additions are at $303,672. There are currently plans to improve the parking at the middle school, but that will be a separate project. As for Field School, renovations are yet to be done or even prescribed, at this point and the demolition of Garrison and Central schools will wait until a time more suitable to the needs of the district. But those projections currently hold at $218,860 at Field and $255,000 for all demolition. After seven months of construction, the structure on site does show the size and scale of the new 65,000 square-foot elementary school. Already visible is the Pre-K wing that has its own entrance so it can operate independently or as part of the school, the first grade wing and the kindergarten wing that is almost fully enclosed. There is a media center at the heart of the building, to give it a community feel, and as part of the master plan, the site can accommodate a second phase of building that could be for students through 5th grade. The gym will serve as a high wind shelter, able withstand winds up to 150 mph. At that velocity, it should not sustain any damage, and it was master planned to fit, perceivably, all of the students from pre-k to 5th grade after the second phase of the school is built. The new school is expected to be ready to move in furniture by May 2018.