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Clark Hall – World Class Programming, Innovative Financing

Clark Hall – World Class Programming, Innovative Financing

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools (GJPS) had a conundrum...

Clark Hall Ribbon Cutting

Standing: Principal Dwight Carter, Lincoln HS; Superintendent Mark White, Treasurer/CFO Julio Valladares; GJPS Board Member Charles Wise; Bonnie Hopkins, Superintendent, Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools; and Jack Cooley, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Columbus State Community College.


Gahanna Lincoln High School was serving more students than it was designed to accommodate – considerably more.

Each time the bell rang, more than 2,400 students poured into the hallways, clogging stairwells and key intersections, all struggling to get to their next class. It was not uncommon for lines of students to come to a halt awaiting their turn to use the stairwell.

With no adequate space available for on the existing site, officials had been examining for years how to best solve the problem.

A study by the Ohio School Facilities Commission suggested GLHS needed an additional 80,000 sq. ft. of space. The study also estimated cost to build a new high school at approximately $80 million – a step the District, nor the community was financially prepared to do.

Additionally, students, staff, parents and the community were (and remain) committed to Gahanna remaining a one-high-school town. Every school in the District is a blue-and-gold school. The addition of a second high school could have been disruptive.

Public/Private Partnerships
In August 2011 the community joined GJPS officials for a grand ribbon cutting and dedication of LHS’s newest addition, Clark Hall. Clark Hall is a newly constructed $21 million, three-story building on the only empty site near the current campus.

GLHS students (juniors and seniors) attend classes on the second and third floors of Clark Hall. The first floor is leased to Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools, Columbus State Community College, and Education First Credit Union. These unique partnerships not only allow GJPS to provide a seamless transition from high school to college; it also finances the cost to construct the facility.

...More than just a building — it is a philosophy of teaching and learning that stresses creativity, collaboration, relevance, rigor and technology, all within a radical non-traditional setting. 

Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools have expanded its bioscience and teacher preparation programs at  Clark Hall. Similarly, Columbus State has expanded its daytime class offerings at the site.

In addition, the Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education recently approved a resolution for a ground lease to Wagenbrenner Development, Inc., for the design and construction of 24,000 sq. ft. of new commercial space on the remaining undeveloped land adjacent to Clark Hall.

Titled The Commons at Clark Hall, Wagenbrenner is investing $5.9 million to create two, one-story retail buildings. This ground lease will provide GJPS with an additional annual revenue stream of $132,000 to begin as early as February 2012. [Click here] to read more about this project]

“Both components of the Clark Hall/ Lincoln High School project is an intelligent approach to finance and educational programming,” said GJPS Superintendent Mark White. “Students are participating in a 21st century curriculum, instruction and assessment that is primarily Internet-based and available for students 24/7, 365 days per year,” White adds.

Impact of Clark Hall Reaches Beyond LHS 
A strategic partnership with Cisco Systems, Dell and Intel provided opportunities for the District to upgrade its network infrastructure resulting in improved connectivity throughout all GJPS buildings, and moreover, supports a philosophy of broad-scale, K-12 technology access for students. The three technology firms have voiced a desire to partner in future projects and to showcase Clark Hall nationally for its financial model and broad-scale use of technology.

“Clark Hall is more than a building—it is a philosophy of teaching and learning that stresses creativity, collaboration, relevance, rigor and technology, all within a radical non-traditional setting,” said White.

Gahanna Hearts and Global Minds |