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A-C for New Phila gym on schedule; Board hires pre-bond architect

| June 14, 2023
From the New Philadelphia City School District Facebook page, crews remove the old HVAC units from the high school gym.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 14, 2023) – The high school gym is on track to have air conditioning in time for Quaker fall volleyball season.

Superintendent Amy Wentworth says this week crews have been using that crane at the high school to remove the old units. In the next week or so they will install the new ones. She says everything should be good to go by early August.

The difference will be noticeable.

“That space which serves large numbers of students… is now going to be fully air conditioned for the first time ever, and if you have ever sat in our gymnasium in the fall for a volleyball game, you only have to do it once to understand what a big improvement this is going to be.

“Just a year ago we had graduation in our gym and it was miserably hot, so this will be a huge improvement.”

The district is paying for the $2.3 million project to install air conditioning to the gym and music wing with ESSER funds. That’s federal money given to school districts for COVID-related expenses, including improving air circulation.

The district is also moving its transportation facilities to a new location on state Route 416 this summer.

“We will be moving our buses down there probably next month,” Wentworth said.

Architect hiring is next step toward new master plan

Meanwhile, the School Board this week hired a pre-bond architect as officials try again to develop a master plan for a facilities update. Wentworth says officials will conduct many community meetings in the fall.

“We are determined we are going to listen and hear and find out what the community wants so that we can once and for all address these aging buildings that we have here.”

Wentworth says past attempts have been unsuccessful, including a bond issue in 2020 for a pre-k through 12 complex that failed by a wide margin. She says the district is starting over with a new architect and new plan that includes lots of community involvement.

“We want to try to get this right this time and make sure we really hear what people want. Based on the result of the election, clearly we didn’t hear what our voters wanted the last time around, so we are starting over with a new company and a new architectural firm.”

The new architectural firm is ThenDesign Architecture out of Willoughby. The School Board approved a $60,000 contract with the company on Monday.

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