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New school facilites on track for 2018

Open house for new middle school Sept. 3

SOLON– It’s been a constant rumble of construction for the Solon Community School District.
But the end is just over a year away, if all goes according to plan.
The school system is in the midst of a substantial facilities upgrade which includes two new buildings and two additions to the high school. School officials provided an update on progress at a joint meeting of the city council and school board July 10.
It’s an annual get-together for the two local elected bodies to discuss current projects, anticipated growth and possible areas of cooperation.
Four of the five agenda items for the July 10 meeting, held at Solon City Hall, concerned the school district’s facilities.
Superintendent Davis Eidahl, along with board facility committee members Rick Jedlicka and Jim Hauer, presented council members with an overview.
The district is on schedule for all of its building projects, Hauer reported.
Solon Intermediate School, a fourth attendance center housing fourth and fifth grades, is scheduled to open in late summer of 2018, he added.
“If you’ve been by there, you can see there’s a lot of activity, and everything seems on track there,” Hauer said. “As far as our new middle school, we’re down to mostly punch-list items.”
Landscaping and minor interior painting remain, he said, but the site will be ready for students at the start of the school year.
Much of the furniture was delivered and trailers of stored classroom equipment will be unloaded toward the end of the month.
At the high school, the clock is ticking on interior renovations in advance of a larger addition.
Hauer said contractors are confident the extension of the commons, into the former media center, will be completed in time for students.
Built with a gift by the Gerdin Family Foundation, the addition to the west side of the high school will include a remodeling of the main entrance, to bring all traffic through the office; the expansion of the commons; additional bathrooms to serve the commons; two added classrooms; a practice gymnasium; a new weight room; the expansion of the wrestling room; and the addition of an elevated walking trail.
Once the interior renovations are complete, work will transfer outside on the addition.
“The high school project is kind of two stages,” Jedlicka explained. “We’re doing a remodel to part of the existing high school and that’s what we’ll have done by the time school starts, and then the new addition on the west end of the high school, hopefully will be done spring– we’re going to say spring– of 2018.”
“I’m hoping it’s before that,” Hauer said. “The footings are poured, but they’re concentrating on the inside right now for obvious reasons.”
The four projects represent $42 million in improvements for the district, Eidahl said.
While the $25.5 million for the new middle school and performing arts center come from the general obligation bond issue passed in 2014, Solon Intermediate is being financed by the school infrastructure penny sales tax and the high school addition by the Gerdin Family Foundation.
“We have a community that’s highly invested in education and our facilities,” Eidahl said.
The first day of school at the new middle school will be Wednesday, Aug. 23, he noted, with orientation for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders on Monday, Aug. 21.
A community open house will be held Sunday, Sept. 3, he said.