As construction continues on schedule and on budget in the first phase of the facilities master plan, Upper Arlington Schools will be marking significant milestones in the coming months in preparation for the completion of the final three projects.
The new Upper Arlington High School, the new Windermere Elementary School and the completed renovation project at Barrington Elementary School are on schedule to open to students for the start of the 2021-2022 school year in August. Last August, the new addition at Barrington, the new Greensview and Wickliffe, and the completed addition/renovation project at Tremont opened to students.
After the current school year comes to an end on May 27, the district will be moving quickly to begin demolition of the old Wickliffe Progressive Elementary School building and decommission the existing Upper Arlington High School building, which has been in operation since 1956.
“Generations and generations of Upper Arlington graduates have passed through the halls of the current high school, and it’s so important that we honor the history of this building,” Superintendent Paul Imhoff, Ed.D. said. “We want to provide everyone in the community an opportunity to look back and walk with us through these halls in the safest way possible.”
This spring, the district will be sharing a virtual tour of the existing UAHS building before demolition work on the current high school building is expected to begin in early June. The virtual tour will be available at www.uaschools.org/facilities.
A virtual tour of the old Wickliffe was filmed in the spring of 2020, before it became the temporary home of Windermere students and staff for this school year. The Wickliffe tour and virtual tours of the old Greensview and Windermere are available on the district website.
“Although we aren’t able to host big open houses right now, we still look forward to bringing in our entire community to see the amazing new learning spaces inside our elementary schools and the new high school,” Imhoff said.
This summer, additional archaeological work on the high school site will also be done to continue the district’s research of the Pleasant Litchford family cemetery site adjacent to the existing school building. The district is also continuing to work with descendants of Pleasant Litchford and other community volunteers to determine the next steps for honoring the history of the cemetery site.
In the 1800s, Mr. Litchford was a master blacksmith who had been enslaved in Virginia. After buying his own freedom and settling in the area that is now Upper Arlington, he built a successful business and purchased the land that is now home to the high school as well as Northam Park and Tremont Elementary School. Among Mr. Litchford’s many contributions to the area were establishing a school for African-American children and being a founding member of the historic Second Baptist Church, which provided an important voice in the anti-slavery movement.
In late August last year, an archaeological team found one fully intact grave with a complete set of remains, along with two partially exhumed graves and three fully exhumed graves. The upcoming archaeological work will look at new areas beneath and adjacent to the existing building.
During the 2021-2022 school year, work will continue on the UAHS site as crews continue to develop the site, construct new athletic fields and possibly create a formal memorial near the site of the Litchford family cemetery. This summer, work will also continue on the Wickliffe site to develop an additional playground and outdoor learning space for students to enjoy along with the existing “castle” playground.
For more photos and information about the Upper Arlington Schools facilities master plan, please visit www.uaschools.org/facilities.