Paving, moving, new scoreboard coming to Amherst Schools

By Jonathan Delozier -

You’ll see $674,800 spent this summer on everything from moving equipment out of soon-to-be demolished schools to buying a new football scoreboard.

Parking lot paving was the biggest-dollar item approved by the Amherst board of education last Wednesday in a special meeting.

Officials voted unanimously to pave the front and back lots at Nord Middle School and the east and south lots at Steele High School.

Clark and Post Architects, a Lorain firm, will draw up plans for both parking lots before the $280,000 job opens for bidding.

The district will spend another $205,000 to move equipment and supplies to new buildings as it prepares to knock down Harris Elementary and the old Shupe Elementary in late summer or early fall.

“We’re moving students out of the Harris building,” said superintendent Steven Sayers. “That will make Nord be grades three, four, and five. Junior high will be six through eight. We’ll be moving modulars and a lot of other classroom equipment, furniture, and those kind of things.”

That move comes as a ramp-up to construction of a new elementary on the Harris site on South Lake Street, approved by voters in November. Eventually, Powers Elementary will be torn down too, and prekindergarten through third grade will be housed under one roof.

Demolition of all three schools will be paid for by the state, which will pick up a hefty chunk of the new school’s cost.

As part of the deal, Steele and Nord will also see $3.6 million in improvements to their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems — $2 million at Steele and $1.6 million at Nord.

Every year, the district sets aside $650,000 to $700,000 for summer projects.

Smaller ones this year include $10,000 for a new announcement system at the Steele gym, $10,000 for new carpet in the Steele main office, $60,000 for a new football scoreboard, $15,000 for new Amherst Junior High lockers, $5,000 for new carpet at AJHS office, and other various equipment purchases.

“These are all projects that will be started pretty much the day school lets out and competed in time for next school year,” Sayers said.

Clark and Post Architects is also putting together a cost estimate for renovating Amherst Junior High School’s library to turn it into a space similar to Steele’s new creative learning center. The Steele renovation cost $700,000 with $200,000 covered by the Amherst Schools Educational Foundation.

Sayers said the district could seek a partner to help with the cost of renovating the junior high.

“It could be a corporate sponsor,” he said. “It could be anyone. We want to go out and see if we could find someone to help us and perhaps even name the space after that partner.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier