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Finishing touches being made to new buildings

Changes to state report cards detailed


Bellefontaine Schools board of education members and administrators Monday evening toured the new elementary school under construction along Ludlow Road that will open next school year: FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Classroom cabinetry is checked out. ABOVE: Red accents, like these in a hallway, are visible at the new school. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | MANDY LOEHR)

Many of the finishing touches are being made to the two new Bellefontaine City Schools buildings that are under construction along Ludlow Road, board of education members observed first-hand Monday evening during a tour that followed their regular meeting.

On the 65-acre lot, the new grades K-2 elementary school and grades 6-8 middle school are being completed through a $35.93 million Ohio School Facilities Commission project with general contractors Ferguson Construction Co. of Sidney.

Both of the buildings are under roof and classrooms are taking shape inside both facilities. Windows have recently been installed, along with furnishings and fixtures in classrooms, and sinks and drinking fountains in restrooms.

Wet paint signs also dot many of the hallways.

The buildings are slated to open to students for the 2013-14 school year.

“This is exciting. The buildings are really starting to look like schools,” said Bellefontaine Middle School Principal Shanel Henry, who accompanied the board on its tour.

According to design plans, the approximately 87,000-square-foot middle school for grades 6-8 will have 20 classrooms, in addition to six project laboratories, a 1,818-square-foot visual arts room, an 8,500-square-foot gymnasium, and other specialty areas.

One wing of the middle school will include three floors, with classrooms on each level to be designated by grade level.

The two-story elementary building, at approximately 81,000-square-feet, will have 10 kindergarten classrooms and 22 elementary classrooms, along with a 5,000-square-foot gym.

For both of the new schools, the “noisy” areas, such as gym and music rooms, all will be located in one area to help provide quieter study space for regular classrooms.

Superintendent Beth Harman previously noted that the new gymnasiums will be “oversized” and both buildings will utilize daylighting features through incorporating large windows.

Also in the buildings, the kindergarten classrooms and science laboratories will be the largest classrooms, per OSFC requirements. Each of the kindergarten classrooms will be equipped with restrooms.

A safety feature included in the building designs are double-locking front doors, which are strategically placed by the main offices and can be controlled by personnel in the office.

During the regular meeting, Superintendent Harman briefed members on changes that are taking shape with the state-issued school report cards.

The current method of rating schools with labels such as “Excellent” and “Continuous Improvement” will eventually be replaced with a letter grade “A” through “F” system.

Starting with data from this school year, the new report cards to be released in the summer will include some new and expanded components.

With the value-added growth standard that looks at students’ progress from year to year, additional measures will look at growth in student populations such as gifted pupils and students with disabilities.

Also, the federal annual adequate yearly progress standard will be called annual measurable objectives. This category will continue to look at the performance of student subgroups, such as economically disadvantaged and students on an Individualized Education Plan.

In upcoming years, a grades K-3 literacy rate will be incorporated into the report card, along with a “prepared for success” component that will look at items such as college admission test participation and dual enrollment statistics.

School districts will receive a single, overall letter grade beginning in the 2014-15 school year.

The next meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Members will meet only once next month — 6 p.m. Monday, March 18.

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