August 28, 2014

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North Ridgeville to hold community forum on plans for middle school

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The community will get its first chance to hear about the planned middle school during a forum next week.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Wednesday at the North Ridgeville Education Center off Center Ridge Road at Mills Creek Lane.

“This will be the first time for a report back to the community about our plans, as well as the first chance to meet the architects and construction manager, and ask questions,” Superintendent James Powell said Thursday.

The session will feature representatives of Then Design Architects, or TDA, a Willoughby firm selected to design the third- through eighth-grade school, to be paid for with proceeds from a $58.1 million bond issue that voters approved in November.

Also present will be representatives of the firm chosen to serve as general contractor for the project.

Powell said one of three Northeast Ohio companies already has been selected for the job, but he declined to identify that company until letters from the Ohio School Facilities Commission are received by the two contractors who were not chosen.

The commission is putting about $9 million toward the costs of the new school.

Also at the meeting, the public will hear about the timeline for the new school.

Once the timeline and drawings are completed, architects and the construction management firm will ensure they are workable. A cost analysis follows, along with screening of potential subcontractors that will be responsible for various parts of the school such as heating and air conditioning systems, flooring and plumbing.

Bids then are sought for each part of the project, after which contracts are awarded to sub-contractors.

“And then you start to build,” Powell said.

The meeting will include results of “envisioning” groups comprised of city and school officials, teachers and residents who met during three days with TDA officials.

“Those groups looked at how to meet student needs in a 21st-century learning environment,” Powell said.

One of the challenges of designing the school is to address a need brought up by business leaders and employers.

“They told us that one skill set students do not have coming into a work environment are ‘soft skills,’ which is a term used for working with others,” Powell said. “We have to look at how we can provide a learning environment to prepare students for those kinds of skills for the future.”

Part of the solution may be to design the school to enhance group learning instead of ones in which students tend to work by themselves, Powell said.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.