GPD Group chosen to design Amherst’s new Powers Elementary School

By Jason Hawk -



Architect Mark Salopek will spend a lot of time in Amherst over the next two years.

His team from GPD Group of Cleveland has been chosen to design the new Powers Elementary School on South Lake Street and oversee its construction.

“We’re here until the day you move in, July of ‘19,” he told the Amherst board of education on Monday. “This is going to go great.”

The new building will be home to prekindergarten through the third grade.

School board president Ron Yacobozzi said choosing an architecture firm was difficult because there were several well-qualified candidates.

“These guys really stood out in their presentation, how they approached things,” he said of the GPD Group. “They came out with unique ideas, things we hadn’t even thought about yet.”

The next step is hiring a construction manager. Interviews, held jointly between district and state officials, will begin March 8.

Yacobozzi said he expects to spend four hours picking the right person for the job from a pool of highly-qualified candidates.

This month, after-school “listening sessions” will allow schools staff to weigh in on what they want to see in the new building.

In April, the “visioning process” will extend that opportunity to small groups of 20 to 25 people, including a cross-section of administrators, staff, parents, and city officials.

Demolition of Harris Elementary and the former Shupe Elementary will begin this summer. As a result, grades will be reshuffled among early-grade schools and some students will end up in mobile unit classrooms.

“The ball is now rolling,” said Sayers.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.


By Jason Hawk