Doors at Firestone High School open to the public at 6 tonight for the latest update on a decade-long, districtwide project that Akron school officials expect will raze a dozen more buildings over the next five years.
The topic will be the new Litchfield-Firestone campus.
The district’s goal is to wrap up demolition of Litchfield Middle School by this year and begin construction on a $76 million, 381,000-square-foot campus that adjoins the middle and high schools.
Litchfield students are attending the former Perkins Middle School building until then, but the transition for Firestone students should be a little smoother.
They’ll be able to walk into the new high school in late 2015, said Paul Flesher, APS executive director of facility planning and capital improvements. Future middle school students attending Litchfield also would have the ability to walk into the high school to attend secondary classes.
“At the end of the day they’ll be connected together, but basically it’s two school buildings. It’s easier to show you than to talk about it,” said Flesher, who added that tonight’s presentation would build on that separation and other community recommendations.
After the grand opening of the new Firestone in 2015, the former building would be demolished, like 30 district buildings before it.
Since 2001, the district has constructed 26 buildings, with three more under way. Hatton, Seiberling and King elementary schools should be completed by the end of this calendar year.
Each building will be open for next school year, though Flesher doesn’t expect the doors to open at King until after the Christmas break.
The district is also in the planning stage for a new Harris elementary in the North cluster. After that, Flesher said, a dozen more buildings could be built by 2018.
“That’s the target year for when the project would be done,” Flesher said.
About 60 percent of project funds over the past decade have been supplied by the state through an Ohio School Facilities Commission project that addresses dilapidated buildings.
In all, APS has provided 41 percent of project costs, or $365 million, through the purchase of bonds from the city. Akron raised that money through a quarter-percent income tax.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or firstname.lastname@example.org.