FAIRBORN — Fairborn school officials and some of the district’s youngest students turned dirt over June 1 at the site where the new Fairborn Primary School will be located.
According to Fairborn City Schools Superintendent Mark North, the groundbreaking ceremony is just the start of positive events to come.
“Once they start building the walls, lifting the steel and pouring the concrete, the kids will be glued to the chain-link fence at recess watching all this go on,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of excitement over the next two years.”
While construction equipment is expected to make an appearance at the site in the coming weeks — next door to the current Fairborn Primary School at 4 W. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road — bids for completing the construction will be posted by the fall, North said. Concrete will be poured and walls will go up by spring.
The new facility is expected to be completed by 2020.
“Knowing that kids are going to be in a safe and healthy and modern facility is the most exciting part of this,” North said.
Fairborn voters passed a levy in the November 2016 election that would fund 60 percent of the construction and maintenance of new Fairborn Primary and Fairborn Intermediate Schools. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission is funding the other 40 percent.
As the new FPS building is being constructed, the new Fairborn Intermediate School will be in the design phase. When the new FPS building is completed, FPS students will move into the new facility while FIS students move into the former FPS building. The current FIS building will be demolished to make room for the new FIS building.
“Years of planning is actually coming to the stage of construction happening,” Fairborn City Schools Board of Education President Andrew Wilson said, adding that he has been on the board for the last five years. “It’s a great feeling to see all the planning, meetings and discussions come together — passing the levy. We’re really pleased with the community support on that levy. It was almost a 2:1 margin which is unheard of.”
The process started in summer 2015 when the board of education publicly expressed interest new schools. The current buildings were assessed and were found to be more costly to rehabilitate compared to constructing new facilities. District officials then began surveying community members to find out what they would like to see in new school buildings and hosted a number of focus groups and community forums to discuss plans, answer questions and offer tours of the facilities to demonstrate why new buildings were necessary.
The levy passed by more than 3,000 votes.
“We initially thought to have all the schools on a campus, but we learned through all the community meetings that they won’t support that,” Wilson said. “They wanted to maintain the schools in the neighborhoods and we listened to them and I think that was a big reason why we got so much support.”
Wilson said during the groundbreaking ceremony that the buildings are more than 60 years old.
“A huge thank you,” Wilson said to community members. “Just the thought of beautiful new buildings with good heat and air conditioning in them with a colorful, open style — I think it’ll be just wonderful for the students.”
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.