November 23, 2014

Elyria
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The new EHS: A bird’s eye view


The rough sketch of the new Elyria High School above offers a bird’s-eye view of the layout of the new two-story building.

Here’s what’s proposed for the various sections of the new school:
(A) Auditorium and music area:
An 800-seat auditorium will be built at the southwest corner of the building, attached to the main academic area.
(B) Academic area: A two-story structure shaped like a figure-eight. An open courtyard abuts the academic area and can be used for outdoor study groups or dining. The courtyardwill feature a secured entrance with an archway made from the entry to the current EHS technical building.
(C) Open-air study areas: Outside space for study groups or gatherings, purposely enclosed within the building to offer students an outside area tucked away from public access.
(D) Media center: A state-of-the-art library where the technology resources will be supplemented by a recent $200,000 donation from Ridge Tool in Elyria. EHS’ video studio for WEHS, as well as other multimedia resources, will be stationed here.
(E) Washington Building: Planners say the Washington Building’s internal design will closely match the design inside the rest of the school, though its outside will maintain its original appearance. It’s been proposed for academic space.
(F) Gymnasium and physical education areas: Placed opposite the auditorium, the main gymnasium will be 16,000 square feet and seat 2,000 people. It will be attached the physical education area and the 8,000-square-foot auxiliary gym, which will be built as part of the second phase. School officials are looking into the construction of a wrestling room as a locally funded initiative.
(G) West Avenue crosswalk: Planners said West Avenue from Fifth to Seventh streets could be narrowed and a textured pavement could be installed at the intersection, both of which could encourage slower driving. The installation of an elevated crosswalk is not being considered since a study in 2003 showed that students would rarely use it and it wouldn’t justify the cost. For the surrounding streets: The portion of Sixth Street alongside the school will be erased, and it is possible Seventh Street could be converted into a one-way street leading west to east, and Fifth Street will remain one-way from east to west.
(H) Student parking, 187 spaces: After the first phase of construction is completed in late 2010, the current high school will be torn down and the land will be paved for a 187-space student parking lot. This lot also leads into a receiving and shipping area on the west side of the school, an area that will be fenced and hidden from view.
(I) Staff parking: This staff lot will hold 200 parking spaces, and beneath it will be a portion of the 400-some geothermal “wells,” which planners say must be accessible for upkeep. Parking in all areas — H, I and J — will eventually offer more than 700 spaces for staff, students and visitors, well in excess than the number that planners had anticipated.
(J) Student parking, West Avenue: The main student parking lot will offer more 225 spaces, but will also hold the majority of the 400 to 500 geothermal wells for heating and cooling. The wells tap into the ambient temperature of the earth to regulate the building’s heating and cooling.
(K) Kitchen and dining: The new kitchen and dining areas are the only ones that overlap the current high school, creating a complex problem for planners. School officials say the students, for a period of a few months to a year, may be eating in temporary areas until the current kitchen and cafeteria are demolished and the new area is built.
(L) Riverfront and green space: School board members are pressing project planners to come up with a more creative use for the riverfront areas leading to the Black River, as well as the green space bordering the parking lot.