By Jeff Gallatin
District officials continued their work to improve access to school facilities by purchasing a Burns Road property located by one entrance to North Olmsted High School.
Board members approved at a special board meeting Saturday buying the property at 5737 Burns Road for $85,ooo. With the purchase, officials have a plan to utilize the property to widen the entranceway to the high school and improve access with one or two additional traffic lanes. With the approval, district Treasurer Robert Matson said the district hopes to conclude the title and related paperwork by mid-October.
Superintendent Mike Zalar said prior to the meeting officials want to begin work on the improvements this school year.
“We would like to knock the house down sometime this school year and begin the process of widening the area,” Zalar said.
He said the process will take time to prepare.
“We’ll be working closely with the city on that,” he said. “You don’t just go out, knock down a house and build a new road. We’ll be setting all that up with the city.”
Mayor Kevin Kennedy said the city would continue to work closely with the schools on upgrading their facilities.
Zalar said the work will go along with the district’s recent demolition of a former middle school annex to create a better traffic pattern by the middle school.
“They are all part of a process to better the district,” he said. “Much of that deals with all our facilities.”
Zalar noted that dealing with facility upgrades and changes as well as other long-term issues all are under review by the district.
“We’re working on our strategic plan, and facilities are certainly a major part of that,” he said.
School board President John Lasko said the purchase of the property and continuing work, such as the North Olmsted Stadium Foundation’s plans to put field turf on the district stadium, its recent renaming to Drive Morris Stadium and other upgrades at district athletics facilities, show progress.
“People around the district should be able to see with all the activity that it’s not just talk anymore about making changes,” he said. “There are literally shovels in the ground now and actual work being done to upgrade facilities.”
Zalar and Lasko said they expect facilities and related topics to be addressed at the community forum the district has set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 10 in the North Olmsted High School cafeteria.
“I would think there will be a lot of discussion on those type of issues,” Lasko said.