ELYRIA — Uncertainty and frustration tempered the excitement of a new school at a public meeting hosted by school officials who met with residents Thursday night to discuss the upcoming construction of the new Northwood Campus.
Dozens of residents that wanted to know how the new school would affect traffic, parking and school assignments attended the meeting at Windsor Elementary School. These are the same people coping with a city sewer project snaking through their neighborhoods and now will have to endure more upheaval as the district builds the new preschool through eighth-grade building off Abbe Road.
Rosalee Avenue and Abbe will frame the footprint of the new school site that will abut homes on Hilliard Avenue. With the former Spring Valley Elementary School coming down to make way for an athletic field and a ring road encircling the school, traffic from Abbe will be right turn only into the property when the school opens. Traffic patterns will take cars out on Rosalee.
That is a big concern for residents, especially as a traffic study has determined Rosalee and Hilliard will not get a traffic light.
“I think you will find if they don’t put a traffic light at Rosalee and Hilliard, you will have a problem,” said one resident.
The traffic concerns may be a bit premature considering the district has yet to demolish Spring Valley or start construction on the new schools. But it does speak to how school officials will need to communicate with residents as the project progresses.
“The work is just starting to begin,” said Dave Stahl, the district’s construction manager from AECOM, a three-firm group that will build the district’s new facilities.
Stahl offered residents his mobile phone number and email address to contact him about the project.
Stahl said Spring Valley has been bid for asbestos abatement and demolition. A week from Monday it will start to come down.
The district’s new Northwood Campus School will be the first of Elyria’s five soon-to-be constructed facilities, and it will usher in a new campus-style concept that will keep Elyria students in one building from preschool to the end of middle school. The district broke ground at the site, the former Pioneer Field and the former Spring Valley Elementary School, in November.
The building will be a hybrid preschool, elementary school and middle school.
The preschool portion will be a more traditional school design with a one hallway wing with 12 classrooms and space for gross motor skill development. There will be small spaces outside the classrooms for more individual work with students. The entrance will have double-entry security, the building will have a dedicated bus lane, and there will be a separate outdoor play space.
There will be a wing for elementary students with a separate entrance, and the middle school portion will be split between fifth and sixth grades on the first floor of the middle school wing and seventh and eighth grades on the second floor.
The hourlong meeting was less focused on the design of the school, which will be in session fall of 2019.
Residents who live on nearby streets worry about how stormwater runoff will affect the neighborhood and if the city plans to address potential flooding risks.
John Schneider, assistant city engineer, said the city is studying the issue.
“We have someone studying the entire area, looking to do some improvements,” he said. “We’re looking at storm sewers, water mains and sidewalks.”
Stahl said the last details of the project are being finalized and as those conclusions are made residents will be the first to know.
“Remember, I’m the construction guy,” Stahl said.
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