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Published: Tuesday, 11/18/2003

Students eager for new year at new school

BY STEVE MURPHY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Shop foreman Rick Jackson is engulfed in dust as he sweeps a hallway of the new Gibsonburg High School before the floor is put down. Students are scheduled to move in after the Christmas break. Shop foreman Rick Jackson is engulfed in dust as he sweeps a hallway of the new Gibsonburg High School before the floor is put down. Students are scheduled to move in after the Christmas break.
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GIBSONBURG, Ohio - Barring any last-minute snags, Gibsonburg students and teachers should begin the new year in a sparkling new middle school/high school.

The $16 million facility, built on a 50-acre site on the southern edge of town, includes two computer labs, a media center, and classrooms equipped with TV/VCR/DVD monitors.

About 650 students in grades six through 12 are scheduled to move in after the district s Christmas break, Superintendent James Reiter said.

“Everybody s chomping at the bit to get over here,” he said yesterday as he led a tour down a long, wide hallway in the school. “Our faculty s excited, and I know our kids are too.”

Work on the building is scheduled to finish by mid-December. Yesterday, workers were busy laying peach and light blue vinyl tiles in some of classrooms.

Mr. Reiter said the school, with 111,500 square feet and full of modern technology, will give students more opportunities to learn and instructors more tools to teach them.

The district is closing the current middle school/high school, which opened in 1929 and was expanded in 1956.

Work on the new high school is scheduled to finish in mid-December. Work on the new high school is scheduled to finish in mid-December.
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The superintendent pointed to a spacious chemistry room, lined with storage cabinets and including a safety shower and fume hood.

“These new science labs are awesome,” Mr. Reiter said.

Other features include separate rooms built with special acoustic walls for band and choir students. In the band room, beige units with slotted doors will provide efficient storage for tubas and trombones, even though they resemble dog kennels, Mr. Reiter said.

“The band director was giving me a little grief about that,” he said, smiling.

The building also includes a “cafetorium” that will serve as a lunch hall, theater, and middle school gymnasium. The cavernous high school gymnasium has six basketball hoops, a maple floor emblazoned with the district s menacing Golden Bears logo, and orange-and-black bleachers that seat 1,300 and unfold at the push of a button.

“No more having to go get 10 kids and roll them out,” Mr. Reiter said.

Construction of the school, a sprawling red-brick structure with a forest green roof, began last year. It s part of a $24 million project to modernize Gibsonburg s schools and athletic facilities.

Behind the new school, the district is building a natural-grass football field with an eight-lane, synthetic-surface track around it. Workers also are preparing the foundation for a locker room/weight room facility to be used by the district s football and wrestling teams.

The football field and athletic building are being funded by a 1.8-mill, $1.5 million bond issue approved in November, 2000.

The Ohio School Facilities Commission contributed more than $18 million toward the school and a renovation and expansion of Hilfiker Elementary, where kindergarten through fifth-grade students go. Voters approved a 5.2-mill, $4.2 million bond issue three years ago to pay for the district s share of the classroom work.

Students and teachers moved into renovated classrooms at Hilfiker in September. Work on the new wing, which will almost double the school s space and has a gymnasium, is nearly finished.

Teachers at Hilfiker, which opened in the 1960s, said the new classrooms look nicer and have better storage and equipment.

“We never had drop ceilings,” said Laura Long, a second-grade teacher. “The paint that I started with was beige for 12 years. The cabinets were never completed. The kids had no place to hang their coats. We had the exposed pipes up there, and we d hang our crafts from them.”

Students appreciate the classrooms too.

“They re proud,” said second-grade teacher Stephanie Weiker. “They re respectful of everything, and it rubs off when they re doing their work. ... We just want to thank the community so much, because it s awesome.”



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