ELYRIA — Elyria, meet two of your new school buildings.
Members of the Elyria Board of Education and those who attended Wednesday night’s board meeting did just that when they viewed renderings for the future Ely Elementary and Northwood Campus schools.
Both are slated to open in August 2020, along with the new Hamilton Elementary School on the city’s south side. Elyria Schools is replacing 11 aging buildings with five modern ones over the next three years with a mix of local and state funding.
The board Wednesday unanimously accepted the program of requirements, schematic design and design development for both school buildings, and for the firm Architectural Vision Group to continue in the construction phase.
Characteristics and design elements of both new schools will pay tribute to their predecessors, board President Greg Elek said. Northwood will include some of the color scheme of the current Northwood Middle School, and Ely Elementary School will include some of the facade of its namesake.
Poster-sized renderings of what the schools will look like will be installed at their respective construction sites, Elek said.
The new Ely school is being built on the same site on Gulf Road where its predecessor has stood since 1921. The Northwood Campus is going in on North Abbe Road on the site of Pioneer Field and the Spring Valley school.
Ely will be an elementary school for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Northwood will be a campus-style building for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The district still is making final determinations where its prekindergarten programs will be held, spokeswoman Amy Higgins said.
Though the community may not see any structural steel or brickwork yet, board member Jim Backs said “a lot of what’s been going on is the underground” infrastructure — water, gas, sewers and other conduits, he said.
At each step, there are city permits, design review by city and state officials and Environmental Protection Agency permits for work such as water lines, Backs said.
“That’s what’s been going on at both sites,” he said.
All the underground work is completed at the new Northwood Campus, Backs said. The new Ely school’s foundation footers were being poured last week and are continuing as the weather permits.
Workers will start “moving dirt” on the new Hamilton school, on the former site of its predecessor of the same name on Middle Avenue, sometime this spring, Backs said.
The new Eastern Heights and Westwood campus complexes are scheduled to open for the 2021-22 school year.
The state is pitching in $87 million in costs to help build the new schools, which is about two-thirds of the estimated project cost.
The removal of a requirement that all the new schools have so-called “storm walls” to help provide shelter from tornadoes saved the district several hundred thousand dollars in construction costs.
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