September 23, 2014

Elyria
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The new EHS: Rough layout shows what might be

A bird’s eye view of the plan 

ELYRIA — An architect’s rough layout of the new Elyria High School has given school officials an idea of what it might resemble, though more detailed drawings are expected within a month.

THE SCHEDULE School officials hope the timeline will play out as follows:

• In February and March next year, demolition of existing homes in the expansion area will finish, followed by leveling the land and installing underground utilities, foundations and the like.

• At the same time, work crews will drill 400 to 500 holes in the parking areas west of West Avenue and the L-shaped parking area at the northeast corner of Seventh Street and West Avenue, to ready for the installation of an underground geothermal system for heating and cooling.

• Construction of the first phase of the new high school — the primary academic wing, the auditorium, the Washington

• Building renovation and the new gymnasium and physical education area — will begin in 2009 and likely wrap up by December 2010.

• Students and staff could move into that new portion of the building by December 2010, with demolition of the old school and the construction of the dining and kitchen areas beginning and lasting until September 2011.

The project architect, Architectural Vision Group, released to the media on Thursday a drawing that planners and school officials caution is a “very rough” sketch of the new EHS.

The sketch shows the nuts and bolts of the new school — where the auditorium will be built, where the parking lots will be set up and where the library will be located.

Likely, that’s the easy part. Behind the scenes, school officials are trying to resolve the logistical hurdles for the coming, four-year construction process.

From early 2008 to fall of 2011, the square of land within Fifth and Seventh streets and Middle and West avenues will see a flurry of demolition-and-construction phases, where students will shuffle from the current high school into a portion of the newly built school.

Throughout that process, staff and students’ most notable dilemma will come when parking spots will be at an absolute premium, Superintendent Paul Rigda said.

School officials are toying with the idea of using the Ely Stadium parking lots, then shuttling staff and students to the high school during phases of the construction.

Additionally, the tail end of the project could leave students without a fixed dining area, as the dining and kitchen areas of the current school and the new high school are really the only areas that will overlap in both time and space.

“These are some of the things that are uncertain yet, but by the time winter is over, they’ll have it all pinned down,” Rigda said of the project planners. “This is not fine-tuned yet. What we’re seeing is the first real draft. This is the first time we’ve seen anything that has looked like a building.”

School board members were given their first glimpse of the building’s layout at a meeting Wednesday, though Architectural Vision Group only presented an overhead slide of the plan and didn’t hand out copies of the drawing at the meeting.

“They didn’t have it ready much before last night,” Rigda said. “We expedited all of it by about a month, and they were going to bring it to the board in January. This was work that was literally hot off the press.”

But board member Holly Brinda said she and her colleagues should have been provided with copies of the sketch Wednesday, if only to review them before the schematic is presented in January.

But Board member Don Boddy said he figured the school board would receive their copies in a few days.

“From my perspective I was just expecting a presentation, so I guess I wasn’t concerned about the fact that we didn’t have a copy of the drawings yet,” Boddy said. 

Contact Shawn Foucher at 329-7197 or sfoucher@chroniclet.com.