GOSHEN — Goshen school officials took a big step to help with overcrowding as crews broke ground on two of three projects on Monday for the corporation’s multimillion-dollar referendum project.

School, community and construction leaders gathered Monday afternoon on the east side of Goshen High School, 401 Lincoln Way E., and at the site of the new intermediate school building, near the intersection of Greene Road and Plymouth Avenue, for a groundbreaking celebration.

The projects are part of a $65 million referendum project that district voters approved during the 2018 primary election. It calls for the construction of an intermediate school for Grades 5 and 6, renovations at the existing middle school that will serve Grades 7 and 8, as well as an addition and renovations to the high school.

The corporation’s seven elementary schools will be reconfigured from K-5 to K-4.

Superintendent Diane Woodworth said the groundbreaking was an exciting day for the corporation.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “We’ve been planning and working and meeting with architects and construction people … So it’s great to actually put a shovel into the dirt and get started.”

According to district handouts, the corporation’s new intermediate school building is anticipated to be about 190,000 square feet, with some portions having two stories. The project is budgeted at $44.9 million.

Woodworth said the new intermediate school will help alleviate overcrowding issues at eight of the corporation’s school buildings.

“We have the third or fourth largest middle school in the state, so to take the sixth-graders out of that school and the fifth-graders out of our seven elementary schools and put them all in one school really helps relieve the crowding in the middle and elementary schools,” she said. “Also, a 5-6 school means that there’s 11- and 12-year-olds together in one building and developmentally, 11- and 12-year-olds are a lot alike, so it’s great to think of having them together in one building.”

The GHS project consists of newly constructed additions as well as renovations of existing interior space for a total cost of $10.46 million, the proposal states.

The new additions are anticipated to include potentially 30,000 square feet of new building area, potentially on three stories.

The renovations are expected to affect approximately 20,000 square feet of existing floor space and other related infrastructure improvements in various locations through the building.

Woodworth said construction at the high school will start the next Monday, the day after graduation, with completion in the July 2020. The Goshen intermediate school will start sometime this week and is expected to be completed by July 2021.

As for the middle school, Woodworth said the district will award bids in February or March 2021, with construction expected to begin in June 2021 and completed in September of 2021.

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