Written by J. Patrick Eaken
April 13, 2012
Next fall Lake High School classes will move into a brand new building, and students and faculty can’t wait.
“I know we are all really excited about it,” junior Ben Swartz said. “We’ll be happy to get out of ‘The Hangar,’ but we’re glad we have it.”
Tim Krugh, school board member, told The Press the building will cost about $25.5 million and retain features of the former building which the community said it wanted, including a fixed-seat auditorium and a field house.
The new building will cover about 143,000 square feet, about 20,000 square feet more than building it replaces. The new structure is nearly three times the size of “The Hangar” — the 53,000-square-foot Owens Community College’s Development and Training building on Tracy Road in Northwood that has temporarily served as the high school since a tornado destroyed the old high school on June 5, 2010.
School officials say there are no tax dollars being spent on the new building, despite rumors to the contrary that have been posted on Facebook.
“All in all, we have facilities that are beneficial to the total educational process and we believe that our children are worth it,” states a school board posting on the school district’s rumor control website page.
“Our new school is not ‘above and beyond’. It is a functional building that will produce 21st Century learners who will have to be able to compete for jobs in a global economy. This new building will maximize the insurance monies and donations that were received in the aftermath of the tornado,” the posting continues.
Principal Lee Herman said, “I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in the building process, and I’ve also been able to be in the building a lot during the construction. It’s just nice to see roomier hallways, a gym, an auditorium, a real cafeteria, a place where we can prepare food right there on our campus and not truck in food from all over the place.
“The biggest thing is we’ll be getting back to what you would consider the normalcy of school—a normal regular cafeteria where we all eat, the ability to conduct phys ed classes like we used to. Kids that are in athletics have the ability to stay after school and they are going to practice here at school like we used to,” Herman continued.
“It’s just the more normal setting that we spent years becoming accustomed to, and we will be able to get back to that. That’s the thing we look forward the most to — obviously it will be nice and new, but mostly it will be the normalcy that it brings back to us.”
The main entrance of the new school faces to the west and will be flanked by office space. A two-story glass atrium will run the length of the building, enabling it to take advantage of natural light, said Dan Tabor of The Collaborative, lead architect for the project.
He said the entrance will lead to a concourse to be called “the runway.” Instead of long corridors of classrooms, the new building will cluster classrooms in what Tabor called “academic houses” at the east end of the building. Each will have its own restrooms and locker areas.
An arena-style gymnasium that can seat 1,800 and an auditorium which seats nearly 500 will be located between the classroom areas and main entrance.
The exterior of the building “takes its cue from the design of the middle school” which sits at the same campus at the corner of State Route 795 and Lemoyne Road.
Memorial for the 7 killed
A memorial site to honor the seven persons killed in the June 5 tornado will be erected on school grounds and include seven trees, Tabor said, and a temporary cafeteria building at the middle school will be converted into a training room for the wrestling program. A second-story media center will extend from the east side of the building.
“We’ll have a lot of room, and it will be a beautiful building. We’ll have a computer integrated with the board (in the front of the classroom), but some of us have that now (at ‘The Hangar.’) It’s pretty nice,” said chemistry teacher Tyler Bates, who has been at the school 25 years.
At least one student believes “The Hangar” will be missed.
“It can’t come soon enough,” junior Lauren Reed said. “But I don’t think it will be fun transferring from here to the new school again. I think once we get back in there, we’ll be kind of like, ‘Oh, we miss this building a little bit,’ even though we have only been here two years. But once we get in there and get settled, it’s not going to be like it’s any different.”
This year’s seniors, however, have to watch the new building go up knowing they will never attend classes or play a game there.
“The seniors don’t want to talk about the new school, but Mr. Herman keeps e-mailing pictures of the new school and I’m always sharing pictures with students. I think everybody is pretty excited about it,” English teacher Tom Jackson said.
Senior Hannah Cox, who will attend Bowling Green State University, said, “It stinks because it looks really nice. I’m not mad about it. I guess it’s kind of bittersweet because they get to get in it, so that’s good for them.”
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