October 25, 2014

Elyria
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North Ridgeville district gets acreage for new school

ED BETZEL/CHRONICLE GRAPHIC

ED BETZEL/CHRONICLE GRAPHIC

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Slowly but surely the picture is coming into focus for the planned $58.1 million middle school and stadium complex to be built near North Ridgeville High School.

Even as the project’s construction management firm and architects continue huddling over drawings and other details, school officials have purchased a four-acre property that includes a private home that will be used as a construction office and buffer zone once work gets underway.

The home is immediately west of the construction site on Bainbridge Road, said Bill Greene, assistant superintendent for building services.

The new school, which is expected to house some 2,200 students in grades three to eight, will be built on an as-yet-undetermined spot lying on a portion of about 100 acres owned by the school district in the vicinity of the high school.

“Typically when you see schools being built, you see trailers that are used as construction offices,” Greene said Thursday. “I had no idea what those trailers cost.”

Officials learned from discussions with personnel from Regency-Infinity, a partnership of two Cleveland-area companies selected to serve as construction manager for the new school, that the district could save $50,000 by using the home on the recently purchased acreage as a construction office instead of a trailer, according to Greene.

The school system paid $207,500 for the home and four acres to the family that has owned the property since World War II.

“We approached them as we knew they were going to (wind up) bordered on both sides by the city service garage to the west and the new school to the east, and we didn’t know how desirable that was going to be to them,” Greene said.

Discussion also included that the city is looking to eventually extend Jaycox Road from Center Ridge Road to Bainbridge Road to improve traffic access to and from the new school while relieving residential streets near the high school of traffic congestion during the school year.

“We knew they might be set to lose the house anyway,” Greene said. “This benefits everyone. The family has been great to work with.”

The newly acquired land will also provide extra space for construction vehicles to enter and leave the work site without interfering with parents, staff and students driving to and from the high school.

“They (construction crews) will be able to use part of the site as a driveway that will keep them far removed (from non-construction traffic),” Greene said.

Some interior walls will be removed from the house to enlarge rooms for meetings of construction personnel and others, Greene said.

Plans call for the family to move out by Sept. 30.

Once the new school is built, the house will be demolished, along with Wilcox Elementary School that stands in front of the high school just off Bainbridge Road. The cleared area will then be converted into green space, said Greene.

A $58.1 million bond issue approved by voters last November will pay for the two-story, 232,000-square-foot school that will replace the crowded and deteriorating middle school built in the 1920s.

Final design plans for the new school are expected by spring of 2015, with construction to begin that summer.

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