With the turn of a few shovels of dirt, Ottawa Hills Local Schools today started building a healthier future for its junior and senior high students.
The groundbreaking for the Kadens Family Fitness Center marked another milestone in a year-long project to raise $1.5 million and create state-of-the-art health facilities at one of Ohio’s top-five high schools. The Kadens Family Health & Wellness Capital Campaign will deliver to the district not only the new fitness center, but also upgraded varsity locker rooms and a remodeled and more versatile Multipurpose Room.
The groundbreaking ceremony signaled the start of the public phase of the fundraising campaign. The Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation, through the work of volunteer committee members, is about 90 percent toward its goal.
“Ottawa Hills Local Schools and the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation are excited to undertake their first-ever capital campaign,” said George Lathrop, Foundation president. “Together as parents, community members, and alumni, we can make a difference and create spaces for all students to engage in healthy living.”
The fitness center is expected to open by December 2019. The other facilities will have ribbon-cuttings sometime in 2020. Today’s event took place at Ottawa Hills High School, where dignitaries, donors, faculty, and students gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking and campaign launch.
The campaign and fitness center get their names from Ottawa Hills alumni Pete (’96) and Amy (Robbins) (’99) Kadens. They announced plans in October 2018 to donate to the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation. Their leadership gift helped propel the Foundation forward and commence the Health & Wellness Campaign.
“We are incredibly indebted to the teachers, coaches and community members in Ottawa Hills for helping us become who we are today,” said Pete and Amy. “We are making this gift to show our gratitude for their support and to continue the Ottawa Hills tradition of developing the whole student – mind, body, and spirit.”
The campaign is endorsed by the Ottawa Hills Board of Education and the Ottawa Hills Athletic Boosters. The construction manager for all three phases of the campaign is Rudolph Libbe Inc., a Rudolph Libbe Group company; the design architect is Kime Design LLC.
About the Kadens Family Fitness Center:
The 4,000-square-feet center was developed with input from a 13-person committee, including faculty, residents, coaches, and school board members. The facility replaces an existing 400-square-foot weight room and adds much-needed space for cardio and weight-training equipment; an open area for classes and floor exercises; an athletic training room; an office for the center supervisor; and handicap-accessible restrooms. Half of the floor space will be used for activities such as yoga, dance team practice, and STEM-related projects (open spaces are needed for robotics and other large-scale displays). The facility will support the district’s curricular and extracurricular priorities. Those include a robust physical education and health curriculum; a highly competitive and successful athletics program; health and wellness programs; and community programs through the Office of Village Life.
About the locker rooms and Multipurpose Room Projects:
During the early months of the campaign, committee members were asked about other spaces that also serve students’ health and wellness needs; specifically, the varsity locker rooms and Multipurpose Room. The locker rooms are in a space original to the 1939 construction of the high school; the Multipurpose Room was added in 1961. Other than paint and basic maintenance, neither has received the attention needed because other projects have taken priority.
Both spaces are used by athletes throughout the year. The current weight room is accessed primarily through the Multipurpose Room. In addition to serving as winter-practice space for spring sports and basketball leagues and practices, the Multipurpose Room also serves as the junior/senior dining area and is the most public space in the district outside of our sports facilities. The room serves as the lobby for our theatrical productions, a gallery for the annual smART show, and living room for events such as the annual Rummage Sale (benefitting the International Student Exchange Association and high school band program) and the Pancake Breakfast (benefitting After Prom).
Renovating those spaces always made the annual list of permanent improvement projects, which are funded by a special tax on village property. But always rising to the top of the funding list were items focused on safety and classrooms, such as replacing sidewalks, funding the OHGlobal computer program, and new radios to enhance safety.
Committee members agreed to add both spaces as fundraising priorities with the fitness center. Together, the new construction and renovations will give the district health and wellness spaces that are more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Through the campaign, the Multipurpose Room windows and floors will be replaced and the varsity locker rooms will receive electrical and plumbing upgrades, including new showers for both the boys and girls.
About the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation:
The Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation serves the district as a long-term, sustainable funding source. Its purpose is to raise and distribute private dollars to support important programs and offerings for students. Learn more: https://www.ohschoolsfoundation.org
About Ottawa Hills Local Schools:
Ottawa Hills Local Schools received all A’s on the Ohio Department of Education’s Local Report Card for a fourth consecutive year in 2017-2018. Ottawa Hills is the only Ohio district (from more than 600 reviewed) to receive the grade of “A” in all six categories for four consecutive years. Its high school was recently named among the top five in Ohio and the #136 best in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Its K-12 enrollment is 994 students.
Learn more: https://www.ottawahillsschools.org/