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School Tours Help Plan Future School Buildings at Columbus City Schools

September 29, 2021 -- As parents and students toured Liberty Elementary School and Independence High School, there was one message heard over and over again. “Be honest. Tell us what you like and what you don’t like here,” said School Board Member James Ragland. 

And Board Member Ragland wasn’t the only one saying that either. Architect Robin Randall with the Legat firm said the same thing, and so did Co-Chair and parent Charity Martin.

“We have work to do as a community when it comes to improving our school buildings,” said Martin, who graduated from Eastmoor Academy. Martin’s son followed in mom’s footsteps and also graduated from Eastmoor. “The Eastmoor I graduated from is not a lot different than the Eastmoor my son graduated from. What’s wrong with that?"

Martin works with the youth in the community, and that’s one of the reasons she is one of two Co-Chairs leading the Facilities Master Planning (FMP) process in her region on the east side. On Monday, Martin and about 40 other people, including some students, met as part of a regional discussion about what future schools buildings should look like in the District. Not only how those future buildings look, but how these buildings meet the District’s mission and vision of academic success with students leading the way. 

“I am graduating this year,” said Maedison Hughes, a senior at Independence High School. “I am concerned about classrooms with no windows, and there is one on the second floor of Independence. I have three younger siblings. How are they going to be motivated in a classroom that’s closed off like that?”  

Another parent walking around Independence High School raised a concern about accessibility, questioning whether doorways were too narrow and if there were enough handicapped accessible ramps at the high school. 

Meanwhile, in Region 5, families were able to tour two schools on Tuesday: Huy Elementary and Medina Middle School, which were constructed at different times. The participants then filled out surveys, answering what makes the spaces different and what they would like to see in future school buildings.

Fourth-grader Amina Lewis shared her ideas at Tuesday's meeting: "I think if I were creating a school, I would bring in more creativity," she explained.  

Lewis, who has two baby brothers at home, thinks future construction should focus on modern learning, with open spaces and lots of light and color.

"I'd make sure we have a little bit more technology so that way the kids enjoy it," she said. "A little bit more soft cushioning cause if you sit in this a little too long, it starts to hurt."

This month, the fourth phase, Anticipate, began on September 27. During this phase, attendees will tour two CCS school buildings, one recently constructed and another older construction, and compare and contrast student-centered learning environments through an online survey. 

There are several opportunities to tour several Columbus City Schools sites and participate in the Facilities Master Plan community conversation over the next two weeks. Click here to register and get involved.

Read on NBC4: CCS Seeking Public's Input Into Future School Construction

Wednesday, September 29 
Region 1 - 6:00 p.m. at Shady Lane ES to Sherwood MS 

Thursday, September 30
Region 6 - 6:00 p.m. at Huy ES to Medina MS

Saturday, October 2
All Regions - 10:00 a.m. at Columbus Metropolitan Library - Northside Branch (1423 N. High St.)

Wednesday, October 6 
All Regions - 10:00 a.m. at Main Metropolitan Library (96 S. Grant Ave.) 
Region 3 - 6:00 p.m. at Shady Lane ES to Sherwood MS 

Monday, October 11
Region 4 - 6:00 p.m. at Huy ES to Medina MS 

Anyone who missed the meeting specifically for their region is encouraged to attend Saturday's all-region meeting at the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Northside Branch, 1423 N. High St., beginning at 10 a.m.