Renovations begin June 10 to turn ‘old’ Franklin High School into junior high

Modular classrooms going away at Gerke, Hunter schools

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The former Franklin High School will be a busy site this summer as construction crews begin the next phase of the school district’s overall building project.

Superintendent Michael Sander said starting June 10, Conger Construction Group crews will be working in double shifts to expedite the completion of renovations to transform the former high school at 750 E. Fourth St. into an updated junior high school.

“We want to get this completed this summer,” he said. “But there will be some things that won’t get done until later this year.”

Sander said the cost of the nearly $2.07 million renovation project came in under the engineer’s estimate. “That’s something that doesn’t happen very often,” he said.

The project will include:

  • Asbestos abatement;
  • New flooring throughout the building;
  • Replacing folding walls with solid walls;
  • Painting the entire interior except the main gym;
  • Replacing chalkboards with whiteboards and View Sonic monitors;
  • New exterior signage;
  • Re-keying the building and adding badge readers for safety;
  • Building a new fenced-in playground behind the building to serve the modular classrooms housing grades 3-5. Those modular classrooms have their own bathrooms and water fountains.

Sander said the building’s restrooms are scheduled to be renovated, but that won’t happen until December due to backlogs for materials. He also said new lighting is also planned for a later date.

The building’s boilers and HVAC control system were replaced last winter, he said.

The district is going to a grade-level building configuration in which the preschool and kindergarten students will be at Schenck Elementary School; first-grade students will be housed at Gerke Elementary; second grade will be housed at Hunter Elementary; grades 3-5 will be in the modular classrooms behind the junior high school; and grades 6-8 will be in the junior high school (the former high school on East Fourth Street).

Sander said the modular classrooms at Gerke and Hunter elementary schools will be removed this summer, saving the district about $4,200 a month on modular rental fees.

As a result of the new configuration and budget cuts, Sander said the Pennyroyal and Anthony Wayne buildings are now closed. He said the Pennyroyal building will be offered for sale at public auction on June 14. The district will be saving $10,000 a month at the Pennyroyal building to comply with EPA monitoring requirements of its sewage treatment system, Sander said.

After the renovations at the junior high school, the district will be ready to build three new elementary schools that voters approved in the November 2020 general election. About 60% of voters approved the 6.52-mill plan to replace almost all the district’s existing school buildings. Bond funds paid to build a new high school on the previous junior high site, and are paying to renovate the existing high school to serve as a junior high.

Because voters approved the local tax, it triggers a “state share” of funding from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. That money, which is expected to be available in the coming years, will be used to replace Franklin’s five elementary schools and one early childhood center with three new elementaries. That equates to the state covering 57% of the overall $130 million building project.

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