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The Southwest Licking district is preparing to build a new facility to replace Watkins Memorial High School.

School construction delayed in Ohio district after artifacts are unearthed

The Southwest Licking district will wait until spring to begin site work on new Watkins Memorial High and Elementary Schools.

Construction on a new school campus in the Southwest Licking (Ohio) district is on hold after arrowheads and other artifacts were unearthed on the site.

WSYX-TV reports that although design plans for Watkins Memorial High and Elementary Schools in Pataskala are moving forward, site work on the project has been postponed until at least spring. 

Crews recently uncovered artifacts that were from 50 years up to 12,000 years old according to archeologist Andy Sewell with Lawhon Associates, an environmental engineering company.

Superintendent Robert Jennell says the district wants “to respect and preserve the history.” But it’s unclear what else might be uncovered in a second phase of the search.

 Any items found that are more than 50 years old need to be recorded in a report to the National Register of Historic Places.

The planned site for the new campus is adjacent to the existing high school and middle school.

Southwest Licking will likely start construction in spring to give scientists time to look for other artifacts. The district is hoping to open the new high school on campus in summer 2021, and an elementary school in winter 2020.

The old high school building would be renovated and used by the middle school, the district says.


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