Monday, March 25, 2019 Elyria 38°


Board OKs school plans


ELYRIA — The configuration of new schools that leans heavily toward merging elementary and middle schools is the master plan design school board members will submit to the state.

On Wednesday night, board members unanimously accepted the recommendations of the master plan committee and submit to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission a building plan that consists of five buildings — two kindergarten through fourth-grade schools, two kindergarten through eighth-grade schools and one preschool through eighth-grade school. It will reduce the district’s footprint from the current seven elementary and three middle schools.

Also included in the master plan is the abatement and demolition cost for old and unused buildings in the district.

Board member Jim Backs said he emphatically agreed the master plan was right for Elyria’s future.

Superintendent Tom Jama said the plan addresses how the district will deliver a comprehensive education to students in the 21st century and beyond.

The target areas for the schools are all parcels the district owns. There probably will be no need to acquire and demolish properties as what happened with the construction of Elyria High School, which now stretches close to two blocks on Middle Avenue.

The plan calls for an elementary school at the former Hamilton School site, 1215 Middle Ave., a 4.5-acre site, and another new elementary school at the Ely School site at Gulf Road and Ohio Street, a 9-acre site.

Two new kindergarten- to eighth-grade campus-style complexes will be built at the Eastern Heights Middle School site, 528 Garford Ave., a 24-acre site, and the former Elyria West High School/Crestwood Elementary sites off Griswold Road, with 76 acres of land.

The last proposed school is a new preschool- to eighth-grade campus at the Pioneer Field site off Abbe Road, which has 15 acres of land.

No approval for stadium yet

The measure does not mean the school board is ready to move forward with another possible component — the stadium project with a $9.3 million price tag.

The deal between the state and Elyria Schools to co-fund the building of new schools at a split of 67 percent in state money and 33 percent in local dollars requires several steps, some that have to take place before a bond issue related to local funding can go before voters. The state gave a deadline of Sunday for submission of the master plan.

The state’s contribution for the new schools would be nearly $80 million if the plan goes forward.

The stadium, if it becomes a part of the bond issue package, is a locally funded initiative that will get no state funding. That would be an add-on, and the state would not be involved. That gives leaders from Elyria Schools more time to speak more with voters — something they are doing now through a 600-household phone survey — to gauge what residents want and are willing to fund.

Even without the stadium project, there are local initiatives with the proposed new schools that the district is pursuing.

The proposed local initiatives of this project include $1.5 million for additional preschool space to open the early education option up to every Elyria child, $1.5 million for upgraded flooring in high traffic areas, $3.6 million for additional learning spaces geared toward technology and $1.7 million for additional student and family support spaces.

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