A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the Benton-Carroll-Salem School District’s new Oak Harbor Intermediate School, the first new building for the school system in five decades. The new building will cost approximately $13 million, said Guy Parmigian, district superintendent.
The ceremony was held on the campus of the R.C. Waters Elementary School, E. Water St., Oak Harbor, where the addition of about 45,000 square feet for an intermediate school is planned.
Parmigian said that 16 new classrooms will be created, as well as a music and band room, gymnasium, special education facilities and a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (ATEM) room. The cost of the new building will not require additional property tax millage or a bond issue, he said.
“It’s a historic day,” said Parmigian, noting that the school district has been plotting and planning the expansion for more than 25 years since the construction of Oak Harbor High School in the late 1970s.
Midwest Contracting Inc. of Holland, Ohio Tuesday is the general contractor, signing a $13,053,900 contract with the B-C-S District. Construction is expected to begin this month and be completed by November 2023.
Starting with the next school year, seventh grade students will attend class at Oak Harbor High School. Currently, Oak Harbor Middle School houses grades 4 through 7. Parmigian said after the addition is completed, grades 4-6 will comprise the Oak Harbor Intermediate school.
A smaller student population made the move possible.
With the addition of grade 7 students, the administration is projecting the high school will have a population of approximately 686 students starting with the 2022-2023 school year. In the 2021-2022 school year, there were 546 students in grades 8-12.
In the 1992-1993 school year, when Oak Harbor High School housed only grades 9-12, there was a head count of 624 students. During the 1978-1979 school year, just a few years after Oak Harbor High School was constructed, the building housed 753 students in grades 9-12.
Renovations are also planned for the R.C. Waters building — which houses grades K-3 — including a new heating and cooling system that is set to be completed by Monday, Aug. 1.