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Board discusses fourth attendance center

Architects to present latest design to school board in June

SOLON– What will the Solon school district’s fourth attendance center look like?
We’ll know more later this month.
The Solon Community School District Board of Education met with Struxture Architects in a special April meetingd to consider three different design options with drawings and costs for each. The cost of a full remodel to the current middle school would be just over $10 million.
With a new middle school currently under construction and set to open for the 2017-18 school year, the district hopes to renovate the current middle school into a fourth attendance center, most likely to be used for intermediate elementary school children. The district’s goal is to have the renovated building open for the 2018-19 school year.
During the meeting, three options were presented. Options A and B were similar with Option C taking a different approach.
Several concerns were raised during the meeting: parking, vehicle and bus pick-up and drop-off, and internal flow of students in the building.
Board member Tim Brown said of the three options, all raised issues of flow.
“None of them look great in terms to student flow,” he said.
Lakeview Elementary Principal Jodi Rickels said this is an important point for younger children.
“We talk often about flow in the school day at Lakeview,” she said.
Struxture’s representative said the first design option handled flow the best.
Board members discussed with representatives possible changes to the design plans. Too many more changes create a budget issue though, said Board President Dick Schwab. Despite significant renovation, the district still hopes to select a plan that will keep as many of the rooms the same as possible.
Schwab said the most area with the most traffic in and out day-to-day is the kitchen area.
“I want to make sure we don’t make that a logistics nightmare,” he said.
With the issues brought up in the meeting, the board hopes Struxture Architects will be able to refine some of the design options to suit board concerns.
“These issues would be difficult to address, but very important to resolve before committing to a plan,” Superintendent Davis Eidahl said in a district release.
The Struxture team asked the board to make one key decision at the special board meeting: whether to keep the original high school tower, which is from 1917, or demolish it. After some discussion, board members felt demolition was preferable.
To exhaust all options, board members asked Struxture Architects to design a fourth attendance center that is all-new construction.
The new two-story design is to include plenty of staff and parent parking, have separate flows of vehicle and bus traffic, and reflect “21st century learning,” with natural light and lots of collaborative space for students and staff, according to the release.
Struxture will present the design in more detail to the entire board in June, when the board hopes to make a decision.
All funding for this project will be from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) fund, a one-cent statewide sales tax dedicated to school infrastructure. The fund will have no impact on local property tax. Solon Community School District has approximately $9.5 million in SAVE funds to spend on a fourth attendance center, according to the district’s release.