Garrettsville – The Straight A Grant from the state provided the James A. Garfield Schools with some exceptional opportunities. With these exceptional opportunities came exceptional challenges. The district remains on a very tight timeline required by the grant. All funds must be committed by June 30, 2014 and spent by September 30, 2014. Those funds not spent must be returned, and the district does not plan to return any of the money. This does present some unique challenges, especially for a construction project. Regardless of these obstacles, the addition is on schedule to open for school this fall. Here are the latest developments on each component of the grant.
Hammond Construction, from Canton, was awarded the Design/Build contract for construction of the 17,000 square foot addition. Their crews have assembled on site and broke ground last Monday. Parent drop off and pick up traffic will be impacted for the remainder of the school year. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate around the construction site.
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 be able to 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 also wants to make this space available to the public for meetings.
An official groundbreaking ceremony will be held on Thursday, May 8 at 6:00 pm and is open to the public.
Laptops for students and staff have arrived and are currently being configured. In May all teachers will receive a district-issued laptop, and in August each student in grades 7-12 will be issued a Chromebook. To support the additional 750 devices, grant funds were recently used to install a substantial upgrade to the wireless network district-wide.
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 back to our community and already has over sixty students signed up to participate. The ESC will soon be finalizing their space at the Intermediate School to determine how many students they can accept for public preschool this fall.
With the construction project, technology initiative and new partnerships developing as planned and on schedule, there is much to celebrate in our community. While there is a great chance to join in the celebration and excitement by attending the May 8th groundbreaking there are many other opportunities to celebrate. The spring sports season is in full-swing and provides many chances to see our students excel outside the classroom. Schedules can be found on the district website located at http://garfield.sparcc.org.