By Jeff Gallatin
School officials believe they can help tear down long-standing safety and traffic concerns when the middle and high schools let out for the day by tearing down an old middle school annex building.
Interim Superintendent Terry Krivak said last week the district has applied for a permit from the city of North Olmsted to demolish the annex, built around 1917. It originally served as an elementary school. It was last utilized for overflow classes from the middle school and community education services in the late 1990s. The proposal would create more room for buses and parents picking up children when schools let out for the afternoon. The school board is scheduled to discuss the length of the school day at tonight’s board meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the district administration building on Butternut Ridge Road.
Krivak said creating more room for buses and other vehicles would aid the district.
“There’s no question that it gets congested in the area when the schools let out,” he said. “If we can create more room for the vehicles to get in and out more quickly it would benefit us.”
Krivak noted that the annex to be torn down is one of a half-dozen additions to the main building over several decades.
“It appears there really wasn’t a lot of planning to how those annexes were done in the past,” he said. “It’s our belief that we could better utilize the space for this purpose.”
Middle school Principal Thomas Dreiling said he’s all for creating better conditions for his students.
“We’d like to have the area primarily for getting the buses in there or for at least allowing more room for the parents to be able to pick up their children,” he said. “By creating the additional room, we think we should make it easier for the students to get out of school more quickly and safely at the end of the day.”
Dreiling said he’s ready for the work to commence as quickly as possible.
“I’d like to see the work get started on the very first day of summer vacation,” he said. “That way we can hopefully have this ready in time for the start of school next year.”
School board President John Lasko said the board is aware that some parents have concerns about the possible changes in the length of the school day. He noted high school Principal Jeff Stanton has already made an initial presentation to the board about possible changes.
“We’re aware that there are a number of questions and concerns about the possible changes to the length of the school day which have come up with some people,” Lasko said. “As a result of that we have let people know that there will be a way to communicate that and ask questions at the regular board meeting (tonight)”
Lasko said he expects discussion on the issues at the meeting.
City officials said they’re happy to work with the schools.
“We have a good working relationship with the schools,” said Scott Thomas, safety/ service director for the city of North Olmsted. “We’ve been working with them on many different safety-related issues.”
He said if the demolition can create a better environment for the students and school district, then the city will assist where it can.
“We’re all about making it safer for the students,” he said. “That’s a major priority for all of us.”