After the summer completion of a college facelift at Worthington Schools in Phase I of the district equipment master plan, a Phase II task force is preparing to make its final recommendations for the next round of building upgrades.
Phase I of the multi-year master plan focused on renovations to Middle Schools in Kilbourne, McCord, Perry, Phoenix and Worthingway. For phase II, the members of the working group are understand their original intentions to improve Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne Secondary Schools, according to director of business services Jeff Eble.
“The task force seems to be mainly looking at updates to the two high schools, redesigning Thomas in a more substantial way, then updating the systems at Kilbourne as it is a 30 year old building,” did he declare.
Eble said meetings in Thomas and Kilbourne with students and faculty would take place in the coming weeks to gather additional feedback.
The next step is for the Phase II working group to meet on Dec. 8, he said, by which time members will deliberate on the final recommendations and begin preparing a Jan. 24 presentation for the school board. .
Although the final recommendations for Phase II were to be presented to the board in November, Eble said the task force delayed the process to allow more time to assess feedback from students, faculty and other district stakeholders.
“After the first working group, we kind of had a direction on where we were going with the second,” said Kim Zupfer, phase II working group member and mother of two boys who attend schools. of Worthington. “This whole process is to check where we were and see if it’s still valid. “
Eble said potential high school upgrades under Phase II are being determined. But some of the larger details under consideration include the replacement of most of the aging Thomas Worthington building at 300 W. Dublin-Granville Road.
“Most of the building is probably (going to be) rebuilt, as much of it is old,” he said. “We had a lot of problems in the original middle section of the building with basement flooding and so on.
“It’s all probably reworked and meant to be a bit of the same things we did in colleges, with big common areas with lots of flexible spaces.”
Superintendent Trent Bowers said Thomas Worthington’s original section was built in 1952 when it was known as Worthington High School and was the only high school in the district. That changed in 1991 when Kilbourne – the district’s second high school opened – and Worthington High School was renamed Thomas Worthington, he said.
Although Kilbourne is younger than Thomas, he still needs attention, Eble said.
“There will be systems that we will consider,” Eble said. “We will probably consider updating (HVAC systems), we will probably consider updating toilets throughout the building and common areas and things in them.”
Zupfer said community feedback so far has been enthusiastic for the improvements to high schools, but tempered for elementary schools.
She said the task force assessed the possibility of approaching elementary schools in phase II in addition to secondary schools. But basic facilities could take a back seat due to inconsistent registration data, she said.
Zupfer said enrollment figures for elementary schools are not accurate at this time due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, due to some parents opting for home schooling and other disruptions education related to the pandemic.
To determine the best course of action for elementary schools, Zupfer said, the task force needs to have a clear idea of what size to scale renovations to and should consider specific feeding patterns.
“We cannot rely on the numbers at the moment just because of the times we live in,” she said. “We’re trying to decide if we should continue to go to primary schools because the landscape has changed a bit and we don’t want to undo something or go back and do something again later. “