Monday, November 12, 2018 Elyria 30°
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Elyria Schools details timetable for building plan

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ELYRIA — Anticipation of new schools and millions in local construction dollars brought dozens to Wednesday’s school board meeting to hear the first major update on the district’s $140 million master plan.

Former Elyria Superintendent Paul Rigda, back with the district as a consultant on the project, updated about when demolition and construction will begin.

Soon in some regards, but later in others is how it was put by Rigda, who guided the district through the construction and opening of the new Elyria High School. Soon is when Rigda said dirt would be turned to begin phase one of the stadium project. The schools will come after.

Nevertheless, the timeline should not confuse residents. Sports are not taking a priority over education, he said.

The stadium can start within weeks because Elyria taxpayers are footing the entire bill, which gives the district leeway to choose an architect and begin work sooner. The state is a vested partner with 67 percent of the construction costs on the line, so it will lead the way when it comes to schools, Rigda said.

“A lot of money from the state is coming our way, and it doesn’t come without its strings, and it doesn’t come without its process,” he said. “But that’s not a negative. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission came up with a process and system that works so schools are built the right way and last.”

The former Hamilton Elementary School and Spring Valley Early Childhood Center will be the first buildings to be razed. The new buildings will be designed, constructed and opened on a continuous schedule with the first schools scheduled to open in the 2019-20 school year.

A nearly packed audience of residents and teachers listened to Rigda’s 30-minute presentation. Before Rigda started, many had encouraging words for board members and implored district officials to open the lines of communication and engage residents as much as possible.

“Don’t just talk to the north side or the east side, but all sides of the city for input,” said the Rev. Tommie Harris of Impact International Ministries.

Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, said the project has the power to transform the city.

“It gives us an opportunity to address where we want our city to go,” he said.

Superintendent Tom Jama said the greatest opportunity for community involvement would come from the actual design of the schools. The five new buildings will not be cookie-cutter buildings, he said.

The district and state will interview three firms Friday, including the Architectural Vision Group, which designed Elyria High School and will do the athletic complex. When the architect is hired, Jama said a process called program of requirements will start.

The architect will gather small groups of parents, teachers, staff members and potential users of the buildings to gauge how the people will use the buildings and how each function in the community. Schematic designs and eventually blueprints will be developed from those conversations.

“It’s not by accident that Elyria High has three offices for administrators,” Rigda said. “Staff members said they did not want one central main office.”

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

ELYRIA SCHOOLS PLAN TIMELINE

Athletic complex

  • Stadium and practice fields will begin in March.
  • This is phase one of the project in the wooded area to the south of Ely Stadium.
  • Phase one should ready for use by August 2018.
  • Phase two will tentatively open September 2019.

Building one

  • At the site of Ely Elementary School, it will be a kindergarten-to-fourth-grade elementary school.
  • Schematic phase and program of requirements slated for March through July.
  • Design phase slated for August through April 2018.
  • Construction phase starts April 2018 and runs through August 2019.
  • Tentative opening date is the 2019-20 school year.

Building two

  • At the site of Abbe Road soccer fields and Spring Valley Early Childhood Center, it will be a preschool-through-eighth-grade complex.
  • Schematic phase and community input slated for March through July.
  • Design phase slated for August through April 2018.
  • Construction phase starts April 2018 and runs through August 2019.
  • Tentative opening date is the start of school for 2019-20 school year.

Building three

  • At the site of Eastern Heights Middle School, it will be a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade complex.
  • Program of requirements and schematic phase slated for April through August 2018.
  • Design of both phases set for September 2018 through April 2019.
  • Construction of middle school will run May 2019 through August 2020.
  • Middle School will tentatively open for the 2020-21 school year.
  • Construction of elementary school will run from June 2020 through summer of 2021.
  • Elementary school wing to open for 2021-22 school year.

Building four

  • At the site of former Hamilton Elementary School leased by Head Start and Elyria Public Library, which will vacate the building this summer, it will be a kindergarten-to-fourth-grade school.
  • Demolition set for this fall/winter.
  • Program of requirements and schematic phase slated for December through March 2018.
  • Design of both phases set for April 2018 through December 2019.
  • Construction will run January 2019 through August 2020.
  • Elementary school to open for 2020-21 school year.

Building five

  • At the site of district-owned land in Elyria Township consisting of Westwood Middle School, Crestwood Elementary School and the district Administration Center — the former Elyria West High School, it will be a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade campus.
  • Schematic phase and program of requirements slated for August through December 2018.
  • Design phase slated for January 2019 through August 2019.
  • Construction phase starts September 2019 through August 2021.
  • Tentative opening date is the start of school for 2021-22 school year.

Note: Renovations will start at Westwood in 2021 once construction of the new school is complete. District offices will move to that building. In addition, the district will demolish the shuttered schools from late 2021 through mid-summer 2022. Land will go back to green space once the buildings are razed.



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