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Construction On New Intermediate School Resumes

This is the planned design for the new Intermediate School. This design has been in the works since 2021. Photo courtesy of Hammond Construction.

Construction on Wadsworth’s new Intermediate School has resumed after stopping during the winter.
“Because we live in Ohio, and we have seasons here, we structure the schedule around the winter weather,” said Kim Adams, who leads Hammond Construction’s business development, communications, and engagement services. “So when we build a construction schedule we have to accommodate for that break that we take.”
Hammond Construction was brought on to the project in the spring of 2022.
Before work on the new building stopped, the project faced budget-related setbacks. The original budget for the school was about $41 million. Due to inflation and price escalation, the project ended up exceeding this budget.
“We designed the building to our needs, of what we originally thought would be $41 million, and that came back in late spring, early summer of almost ten million dollars over budget,” said Douglas Beeman, treasurer for Wadsworth City Schools.
In order to fix this, the project underwent the process of value engineering and schematic design, to try to reduce costs.
One example of a change that was made is a change in material on the auditorium roof. It was originally planned to be made out of concrete, but now it will be made out of a series of layers of material and insulation.
“It will give the same soundproofing, it’s just a lot cheaper,” Beeman said.
Changes like these were made to get the project back on budget.
“It’s a lot of things like that, that the average person, when they walk in the building will never know that we changed,” Beeman said. “We didn’t reduce square footage, we didn’t reduce class size, we didn’t reduce what the inside of the classroom looks like.”

All of the underground utilities for the new building are currently in the ground. The building is supposed to start coming out of the ground before summer break. Photo courtesy of Hammond Construction.

In addition to reducing things from the project, money was collected through the Medina County Sales Tax.
“We were able to issue an additional $8 million in debt, against future collections of the Medina County Sales Tax,” Beeman said.
The Medina County Sales Tax collects money for permanent improvements to buildings.
“When you bring that all together, all those changes, basically the project went from a $41 million project to a $51 million project,” Beeman said.
The project is on track to stay on the new budget and it has been bid out again after the new budget was decided on.
“We are very confident now that we actually have solid bids for the majority of the building, that we will be able to secure that,” Beeman said.
The only aspects of the building that still need to be bid out are furniture and what is called the Final Site Package, which includes the parking lot, roads, grass, and landscaping.
“We feel confident now about that new budget,” Beeman said.

Construction has resumed and the project is moving forward.
“Before school’s out, you’ll start seeing the building coming out of the ground,” Beeman said.
As of right now, the utilities for the building are in the ground and concrete footers are in the process of being poured.
“We performed site work last year in 2023, so summer into early fall, and during that site work we did what we call ‘mass grading’ to develop the building pad,” said Joe Swantek, who leads Hammond Construction’s project teams. “And then we put in underground utilities around the site, which include stormwater management, sanitary sewer, and water supply.”
Construction should not affect day-to-day activities at the high school and middle school.
“The contractors are all very much aware of our schedules, with the high school and middle school,” Beeman said.
Deliveries have been scheduled to avoid the busy times at both schools.
“The big thing now will be working from now until the fall to hopefully get the majority of the building up before the winter next year, so they can be working inside through the winter to be able to complete the project on time,” Beeman said.
After the issues with the budget had been resolved, the project is now back on schedule.
“Once they get the footers down, then they’ll start laying block, and once they start laying block you’ll start to see things coming up,” Beeman said.
From now on, progress on the building will continue until it is time for it to open.


This is the schedule that the construction process is following. Construction will continue until the auditorium is complete in December 2025. Photo courtesy of Hammond Construction.

“The goal is to get it ready so that we can open school, like the arts, the gym, the cafeteria, and the classrooms will be ready,” Beeman said. “But the auditorium will probably not be ready when we open in August of 2025, they will still be finishing out work there.”
The Intermediate School will open for the 2025-2026 school year so students will not be disrupted by moving buildings in the middle of the school year.
“With schools you either open in August or you open the next August, there aren’t many instances where you are moving kids in the middle of the school year,” Adams said. “In order for us to make it so the kids could be there in 2025, we structured our schedule so that the auditorium would be open a little bit later.”
The auditorium will be very similar to the Performing Arts Center at Wadsworth High School, but it will include balcony seating. This new auditorium will seat just under a thousand people.
“It will have a balcony in it, which a lot of high school and middle school auditoriums do not have,” Swantek said. “It will have a lot of high-end lighting and theatrical rigging for performances.”
There will be a parking lot adjacent to the auditorium, intended for events held in the auditorium, and overflow parking.
“Between the building and Grizzly Way is the lot that will accommodate everything for a normal day to day, all the teachers and visitors will be able to park in the lot north of Grizzly Way in front of the High School,” Beeman said.
There will also be a bus ramp on the East side of the building.
The design of the new building will have many similarities to Wadsworth High School.
“It definitely follows the trend of a lot of schools, with more collaborative work areas,” Adams said.
As construction progresses, efforts will be made to involve the community.
“We’re hoping that we can do a beam signing this year, where students can sign a beam from a part of the building,” Adams said.
A beam signing will take place in the fall of 2024.

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Maia Edwards
Maia Edwards, Staff Writer
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