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New schools, growing academics top Dublin district’s ’20 list

Article originally published in This Week News by Sarah Sole

The first year of the 2020s decade will bring two new school buildings to Dublin City Schools.

The district in August is slated to open Abraham Depp Elementary School in the Jerome Village subdivision and Hopewell Elementary School off Bright Road, said Superintendent Todd Hoadley.

The combined cost to build both schools is $47.4 million. Funding for those buildings and for a middle school will come from the combination $195 million bond issue, a 2-mill permanent-improvements levy and a 5.9-mill operating levy voters approved in November 2018.

School district staff and parent-teacher organizations will do transition activities with families moving to a new school building as a result of the redistricting process prior to the opening of the new schools, Hoadley said.

Hoadley in mid-December finalized new maps for attendance boundaries for elementary and middle school students because the district is scheduled to open the two new elementary schools in August 2020 and a new middle school in August 2021. The midle school also will be in the Jerome Village subdivision.

Although the elementary schools are on the forefront of everyone’s minds, the district also is scheduled to open its new centralized preschool in August, Hoadley said. The school will be housed in the former district administrative offices building at 7030 Coffman Road.

Board members Sept. 23 approved a guaranteed maximum price of $4,554,564 for construction company Elford Inc. for the build-out and construction.

In early January, Dublin Board of Education members will have an opportunity to approve a second GMP for site work at the preschool, including a playground, a new bus lane and other infrastructure, said Jeff Stark, the district’s chief operating officer.

Although the new middle school doesn’t open until 2021, the district is slated to break ground on that project in February or March, Hoadley said.

That project has a construction cost of about $42.3 million, said district public-information officer Doug Baker.

This year’s efforts will also focus on academics.

Hoadley said he wants to begin readying the Dublin Innovation Incubator so students can begin in June to use the district’s Emerald Campus as a site to work with business owners and entrepreneurs to help them build their own businesses.

Preparation includes identifying coaches and making marketing materials, as well as searching for seed money to be used in support of the program, Hoadley said.

Pending board approval, the district also plans to hire a pair of employees for the program, he said.

Dipanjan Nag, who serves in a volunteer role at the Emerald Campus as its executive in residence, is partnering with the district in designing the incubator program.

Nag said the incubator would be an after-school program focusing on building and managing a business and fostering innovation.

“I am very excited to be the first executive in residence for the program and fortunate to work with a visionary school board and other key leaders from the community and the government,” he said.

The program’s audience isn’t limited to students interested in the business field, said Kristy Venne, Emerald Campus director.

“The hope is to attract students interested in all fields to create a pool with cognitive diversity, interest areas and expertise in order to promote cross-pollination through collaboration,” she said.

Venne said the program aims to develop young people’s leadership skills through design challenges for local businesses, pitch competitions for prize money and by matching professionals and college students with high school students for mentoring.

The district’s academic initiatives also include developing a new technology plan for the district in the first part of the year, Hoadley said. The plan would be a three- to five-year one focusing on using technology at the elementary school level and online learning opportunities at the high school level, he said.

Finally, during the first quarter of the year, the district will work with two professors from Columbia University to review the district’s English language-arts literacy program, Hoadley said.

The district typically examines one content area per year, he said.

“We’re all about continuous improvement,” he said.