New Ohio Primary School Aims for 2020 Debut

By Lisa Kopochinski

 FAIRBORN, Ohio—The new Fairborn Primary School is on track to open next June despite construction falling behind this past spring due to rainy weather.

“I’m nervous—not about the construction—but getting moved in on time,” said Fairborn City School District Director of Business Affairs Jeff Patrick.

“We will be moving from the old Fairborn Primary School to the new Fairborn Primary School. Staff from the old Fairborn Intermediate School will move into the old Fairborn Primary School building during a very tight window. June, July and August [next year] will be busy.”

SHP Architects of Cincinnati is the architect on this new state-of-the-art 132,000-square-foot school that will be able to accommodate 1,400 students.

The new primary school will include two-stories, bright and vivid colors, modern technology, updated safety features and a storm shelter in the building’s gymnasium that will serve as a safe zone.

Mike Parkinson, vice president, architecture at SHP, said this project “includes flexible-learning environments and an EF-5 rated gymnasium tornado storm shelter that will be complete next summer.”

Patrick added that the building will be very age-appropriate for the students in preschool through second grade, and would not be suited for students in third, fourth and fifth grades.

As part of Ohio Facility Construction Commission rules, teachers, staff and students moving into the new primary school will be utilizing brand new equipment. They will be tasked with moving their personal items, textbooks and similar equipment, but will have brand new desks, chairs, technology, and whiteboards for the very first time.

Patrick said the project is right on budget as the bids allowed the district to purchase “alternates” such as extra playground equipment, rubber tile floor, and a wood gym floor.

The project team for the new primary school includes the following:

Client: Fairborn City Schools & the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC)

Architect: SHP

Civil Engineer: The Kleingers Group

Landscape Architect: SHP

Food Service: Joby Smith & Associates

Structural: GOP Limited

Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing:  SHP

Technology: Forward Edge

Geotechnical: CTL Engineering

Owner’s Agent: Hill International

Commissioning Agent: STAN & Associates

General Contractor: Monarch Construction

Parkinson said one of the biggest design challenges had to do with building the new primary school on the existing primary school site “while maintaining operations of both facilities for two years after the new build. In addition, this project was intertwined with the design and construction of a new intermediate school within the school district.”

More Work Required at Intermediate School

Teachers moving from the old Fairborn Intermediate School to the old Fairborn Primary School building will have more work to do, added Patrick, as the equipment in the old primary school is suited for younger children. More equipment to suit the age and size of the intermediate school students will have to be moved.

Next summer, the current intermediate school will be demolished and the grounds prepared for the new building. Construction will begin for that new building by early 2021, with an anticipated completion date of 2022.

“We will be keeping an eye on the Fairborn Intermediate School budget for sure,” said Patrick.

But he also remains hopeful that the intermediate school can be upgraded to include some of the alternate items as well.

After the intermediate school teachers and students move out of the old primary school building and into the new intermediate school building, the former primary school will be demolished. The district will utilize the grounds to plant grass, expand parking and erect additional playground equipment.

And, if this all wasn’t enough, Fairborn City Schools will soon be starting a year-long study with SHP to determine if the district should also construct new buildings for Baker Middle School and Fairborn High School.

“Administration believes we should do something [about those buildings], but we need help,” explained Patrick. “Before administration makes that determination, we need input from our community to move forward.”

The study—set to begin shortly—is intended to determine if the community would support another bond issue to construct a new Baker Middle School and Fairborn High School and will include community forums, interviews and surveys.