“Site construction means getting everything done that has to be done before we can actually put the building up,” Staggs said. “From now on, everything we do is building and not tearing down.”
The district will begin accepting bids Jan. 26 for work to elevate the land by six feet, create the foundation for the new road, dig out holding ponds for excess water and construct a retention wall on the hill.
The wall was once a major issue for the school district. The OSFC was concerned about the size and cost of the wall, which is needed to hold back the hill behind the building. Early estimates reported the wall could cost more than $1 million, and the OSFC pressured the district to find a new site. Eventually, the district came to an agreement with the Commission to change the angle of the building so it would be further away from the hill and reduce the size of the wall.
“I think we’ll have three separate walls, but they’re not big walls like the one was going to be one big, huge wall going all the way across the back,” Staggs explained.
Staggs said the district hopes to award the site construction contract and start work by March, and then accept bids for the general contractor to have the building complete and open in time for the start of the 2012-13 school year.
“There’s a tremendous amount in this building that is going to change and help the district,” Staggs said.
The new building is designed with three pods and two stories, to create six individual pods (three downstairs and three upstairs) to keep together students in similar grade levels. Its design will mimic the hill itself, using similar colors and stones to blend with its surrounding environment. The building is also more secure, with enhanced video surveillance and lock down capabilities.
But not all of the features are fancy, 21st century innovations. Some are simple luxuries that other districts might take for granted, but New Boston has never had — like air conditioning. At the time when it opens, it will be the first new school building in New Boston in about 98 years.
“For the first time in the history of New Boston, elementary kids will have a gym. For the first time in the history of New Boston, elementary kids can play on grass,” Staggs said.
The new building will be next to the existing New Boston Stadium, allowing the school to take advantage of that facility as well as the nearby park and tennis courts.
Once stalled and stagnant, Staggs said the OSFC is now pushing them forward quickly and he looks forward to working with new agency administration appointed by Gov. John Kasich.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or rottney@ portsmouth-dailytimes.com.