The Fairfield Local Schools’ $4.5 million levy project to add classrooms, a multipurpose room and a track/soccer complex to its Leesburg facility is moving forward ahead of schedule, superintendent Bill Garrett said Friday.
“It’s coming along very well. The elementary wing exterior walls are up and they’re working on the interior walls and frames,” Garrett said. “We’ve been really lucky because with the weather we’ve had this fall we’ve had very few down days and we really haven’t run into any other problems.”
The superintendent said the plan is the same as when the project started. There will be eight new classrooms; a multipurpose room that will serve as a cafeteria, physical education area, and host after school activities; and a new track and soccer complex. He said there will also be an office area and some needed storage space in the school addition.
Actually, Garrett said, the track and soccer complex is a little farther ahead of schedule than the school building part of the project. He said the final layer of asphalt is down for the eight-lane track and they’re basically on hold with it until spring when the synthetic surface will be applied.
He said grass has been planted and is growing on the inside of the track where the soccer field will be located, and basically all that’s left to do besides the synthetic surface on the track is to install water lines and things like that.
The next step on the school addition is the roof. Garrett said that steel for it is scheduled to arrive in January.
“We seem to be moving ahead of schedule a little and we expect to have everything open for school next fall,” Garrett said. “That was the goal from the start. We can’t control the weather, but up to this point everything has went really well.”
The need for more classroom space rose after seven of eight kindergarten classes in a row had more than 80 students. And other other one had 77. Before those years Garrett said a year ago that an average kindergarten class at Fairfield was 60 to 65 students.
Garrett said the trend of about 80 students in the kindergarten class held true again this year.
When the current school building opened in 2002, Garrett said Fairfield had 789 students in grades K-12. A year ago it had 969 students in those grades. He said that while the final official student count hasn’t been completed for the 2015-16 school year, he is expecting it to come in about 10 students higher than a year ago.
“We get a lot of requests for open enrollment and we take what we can, but unfortunately we have to turn a lot down because we just don’t have room,” Garrett said.
Residents in the Fairfield Local School District passed a four-year permanent improvement levy in 2012 that provided money for repairs, materials and technology needs.
Then last year they passed a property tax levy during a special election. It should produce $4.5 million over 28 years to complete the current projects.
It costs the owner of a property valued at $100,00 about $137 a year.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.
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