Kelsey Anagnos

Oxford citizens gather Tuesday to discuss different architectural styles for the new Talawanda High School.

Tuesday a group of Oxford residents, students and faculty began discussion on plans for the new Talawanda High School with the hope of breaking ground in August.

Mike Dingeldein, the school’s architect and 1979 Talawanda graduate, said the hope is that the walls of the new school will go up by January 2010.

Talk of a new high school began eight years ago and Tuesday’s discussion marked the beginning of planning, following the passage of Issue 16 in November.

During the meeting, attendees voted on the prospective styles for the new building, with each introduced and explained by Dingeldein.

“We aren’t trying to replicate any of these buildings, we’re just trying to find a direction,” Dingeldein said. “We want a building that serves teaching and learning the best for our community.

Out of the nine styles surveyed, one style stood out: a traditional, red brick design similar to the buildings found on Miami University’s campus.

Lila Wengler and Lindsay Crist, both freshman at Talawanda High School said their excitement for the new school was only growing. They both agreed that it wouldn’t be a bad thing to look united with the town and have a red brick building, but what they were most looking forward to was a bigger cafeteria.

“We just don’t want to have to share a chair with someone while we eat our lunches anymore,” Crist said.

Audience members discussed geothermal energy sources and using bricks from Ohio to cut down on transportation and construction costs and improve the eco-friendliness of the building.

There will be minimal man-made drainage at the construction site because of the location’s high elevation, according to Dingeldein, and there will be no construction on the property’s wetlands.

“I want to really see them attacking the green aspect of this project,” said Leigh Whelpton, a 2005 Talawanda graduate with a conservation and resource political ecology degree from University of California Berkley. “When we go for lead certification why not get the gold? Why not use our classrooms to educate the students about environmental issues?”

Dingeldein will be back in April to get community feedback about design options, using the information to create a building that best fits the community’s wants and needs.

Dingeldein said he has high hopes and a tight timeframe for the construction of the new high school. He said he plans on breaking ground in August and wants to see walls being built by January.

Dingeldein will be back in April to get community feedback about design options. He will use the information at this past board meeting to create a building that fits the community’s wants and needs. Dingeldein said he has high hopes and a tight time frame for the construction of the new Talawanda High School. According to Dingeldein, the construction should take 20 months, so the community is looking at a new Talawanda High School by September 2011.

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