XENIA — The final beam was placed atop the new 274,000 square-foot Greene County Career Center Oct. 3.
Signed by students, staff, board members and project workers, the ceremonial placement of the white-painted beam — with an evergreen tree and American flag affixed to either side — celebrates the completion of the building’s structure. Construction of the new career center is well underway just off U.S. Route 35 near U.S. Route 68, south of Xenia.
Topping out a building with a tree began as a spiritual Scandinavian tradition, Superintendent David Deskins explained.
Work on the site soil began in December 2018, after Greene County voters passed the levy 55 percent to 45 percent the month prior.
“Thank you to every Greene County resident,” Deskins said. “Without your vision, your support, this would not be possible.”
The anticipated completion date is under a year from now, with students expected to occupy the building in August for the start of the 2020 school year.
Michael Huff, associate at Levin Porter Architects, said this is the fastest construction project of this size that they’ve had.
“It’s not typical for a building this size and complex to be built this quickly. This one took extra effort in the planning and designing phases,” Huff said. “It’s been a real challenge but a labor of love … When kids move into the facility, that’s when we are really going to see the benefits.”
Huff said a crew of at least 120 are at the site working on a given day. That’ll increase as the deadline gets closer.
Shook Touchstone is the design builder and Shell & Meyer is the structural engineer.
The new building includes a Take Flight canopy — which will house robotics, engineering technology and a drone lab — and was where community members and elected officials gathered for the ceremony.
Officials said they’d been watching the progress of the building from the roadway — some not realizing it was a school that was under construction as they drove by. State Sen. Bob Hackett called the project “phenomenal.”
“This is a facility that will be here for such a long time. We’re going to be so proud,” Hackett said.
City of Xenia Mayor Sarah Mays described the ongoing construction as a metaphor — teachers and staff building into students, citizens building into the community.
“This is an investment in the future of Greene County. It will certainly attract good, new jobs to Greene County,” Former Gov. Bob Taft said. “It will provide great opportunities for young people.”