Garrettsville – The $5M Straight A Grant from the state provided the James A. Garfield Schools with some exceptional opportunities. With these exceptional opportunities came exceptional challenges. To date, I am happy to report that these challenges have been met. The project is on time and under budget.
Regardless of the obstacles, the addition is on schedule to open for students on August 26. Here are the latest developments on each component of the grant.
Our Design/Builder, Hammond Construction, and all of the subcontractors have worked tirelessly to ensure that we receive our building on time. More importantly, they are delivering this community a building of excellent quality.
We are also proud to have local contractors working on the project. Most notably are our electricians, Scotchman Electric, and our painters, Doug Seaman Decorating.
The addition will include 8 classrooms, 2 state-of- the-art science labs, 2 special education classrooms and a professional development center. The professional development space will comfortably seat 120 adults and contain digital projection equipment for presentations or trainings. While this space will offer a flexible instructional space for students, the district will make this space available to the public for meetings. The project also includes a renovation to the office area, creating a more functional space as well as a secure entrance for visitors and a dual serving line in the cafeteria.
Last February, a “Campus of Excellence Oversight Committee” was established to oversee all aspects of the project. Over 40 individuals from the community have been actively involved making decisions about the addition. This group consisted of parents, business owners, community members and school employees. They have met throughout the project and provided the input necessary to construct a building we can all be proud of for the next 50 years.
While our students will be in the building on August 26, we will be planning an official ribbon cutting ceremony for late September or early October.
Finally, through careful selection of contractors and good planning, the project is coming in under budget. Savings will be used to invest in three areas. Efficiency items such as HVAC controls and energy efficient windows have been purchased and will save taxpayer money over time. Security items such as exterior cameras and keypad entry doors will provide for student safety. Instructional upgrades include an enhanced wireless network and 210 laptops on carts for student to use in grades K-6.
Laptops for staff have been distributed and training is scheduled for next week. Between August 12 and the start of school over 650 laptops will be distributed to students in grades 7-12 (see page 8 for details). The wireless infrastructure has been upgraded on the entire campus and is ready to support a new era of 21st Century learning.
The Portage County Educational Service Center (ESC) and the Greater Cleveland YMCA are moving forward with their plans to bring their services to the community. The YMCA has brought youth soccer and flag football to our community and already has over sixty students signed up to participate. The ESC will open two preschool classrooms in the retiring Intermediate School this fall.
With the construction project, technology initiatives and new partnerships developing as planned and on schedule, we have a great deal to celebrate. The pride of our community continues to drive us towards excellence. Go G-Men!