Wynn Turner is eager for his new high school.
The seventh-grade student at Maumee Valley Country Day is part of the first class that will spend all four years in the new building, which was celebrated at a groundbreaking ceremony Friday.
"To us, this new high school represents a new beginning," he told his classmates seated on the lawn, all wearing white "Under One Roof" T-shirts, as well as the alumni and supporters of the school who came for the ceremony.
Wynn, 13, said the new building will be a huge asset for the students.
"We're going to be the first class to be all four years in the building and that puts us in a unique position," he said. "I think it's going to be very cool."
The "Under One Roof" campaign includes building the new upper school, as well as a bridge project to connect all the school's buildings with an enclosed walkway.
"Everybody's very excited about it, obviously," said Gary Boehm, Maumee Valley headmaster.
"It's something that's really needed, so there is relief that it's actually happening. There's an eagerness to get into the new building."
The 70-acre campus off Reynolds Road in South Toledo "needs the new high school," Mr. Boehm said, to replace the current building constructed in 1958.
"It is a 1950s model of education, which is a lot of small classrooms where teachers are isolated, and in the new building we'll have more open spaces and flexible spaces," Mr. Boehm said.
It will have a modern look with a lot of glass and natural light. And the two-story, 40,000-square-foot building will have a capacity for 225 students.
There are 180 high school students now and about 480 total in preschool through 12th grade at Maumee Valley.
The new school construction is being paid for through an ongoing
$15 million capital campaign.
Dean Kasperzak, executive chairman of the campaign and an alumnus of the school, where he met his wife in the seventh grade, said the changes are "critical" for the school and its future.
The campaign is not solely about the new high school.
It includes the bridge project, renovations to the historic Smead Building, and endowments to support scholarships, faculty enhancement, and building maintenance, Mr. Kasperzak said.
Maumee Valley has raised about $9 million of the $15 million goal for the capital campaign. The high school is the first project getting under way in coming weeks.
The 1934 Smead Building, which houses preschool and administration offices, also will be renovated, which will allow all the young children, ages 3 to 5, to be in the same building.
The building will retain its character through the renovation, Mr. Boehm said.
And the bridge to connect the Smead Building with the upper and lower schools also will help the school's youngest students, who now have to bundle up against the elements, to walk outside to the other buildings.
Everything should be complete by the 2010-11 school year, he said.
- Meghan Gilbert