Oakwood School officials are looking into the future and making plans now to enhance learning environments for current students and future generations.
In the spring, the Board of Education approved undertaking a master facility plan for the district, beginning a three-phase project that will include assessment, design and decision-making. Officials say they are taking advantage of all the resources at their disposal to review the current facilities and determine the best way to “accommodate the level of learning expected and valued by our community,” Board Vice President Todd Duwel said.
“We look forward to a dynamic, interactive and fully
engaging process to listen, learn and lead the change determined to accomplish our shared learning objectives,” Duwel said.
The assessment portion of the plan began this summer as firms chosen by the district and a team from the state toured and evaluated the buildings. The district entered into a partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) to gain
that group’s insight. The OFCC leads construction and renovation projects for schools and other state agencies. Representatives from the OFCC toured all of the district’s school buildings and will present a report on the findings this fall.
Running point in the master facility plan are Ruetschle Architects and Emersion Design. The two firms were selected after district officials screened several applications and interviewed four strong teams of design professionals. Leading the project for those companies will be Mike Ruetschle and Christie Boron. Ruetschle, an Oakwood resident, is the owner of Ruetschle Architects. His primary role in his company is planning, community engagement and project design for K-12 schools. Boron, who’s with Emersion Design, has 20 years of experience, including an emphasis on managing and designing educational facilities.
Oakwood Schools Treasurer Kevin Philo says the two
companies working together create a “dream team” for the district.
“Ruetschle Architects bring a strong local presence, a history of working successfully with schools, especially Oakwood Schools, and a proven track record of designing buildings and spaces that mirror and complement the district’s existing unique structures. Emersion Design brings the in-depth proven process to determine need through interaction with stakeholders and a partnership with engineering firm Fanning Howey, who are national leaders in educational design and creating infrastructure,” Philo said.
Boron says the strong tradition and engaged community are strengths that will help Oakwood continue to “excel far beyond the norm.”
“It is extremely exciting to think about what Oakwood students might be able to accomplish if provided flexible learning environments that support deeper learning through project based and inquiry based pedagogy. Oakwood students have the potential to set new benchmarks to be modeled by students nationwide,” Boron said.
Community members will be invited to join the master facility plan this fall. Students, parents, staff and community members will have the chance to provide input throughout the process.
“We will provide information and updates through multiple channels including: community meetings, small group gatherings, articles and social media. Our first community meeting is set for Nov. 2,” Superintendent Dr. Kyle Ramey said.
Part two of the three-phase process will be the design stage, taking place in the winter and spring of 2017-2018. The decision phase will be in the summer and fall of 2018. For more information on the plan and to find out details on the community meetings, visit the district website at oakwoodschools.org.
“We encourage all community residents to become informed of the process and to share their thoughts, questions and concerns, so we may engage in meaningful dialogue about the plan, the process and the purpose of our shared effort. We invite all stakeholders to join us in being a part of this great opportunity,” Duwel said.