• Supt. Celico

    As we move through summer quickly, those of us who are still here are working diligently, preparing for the 2019-2020 school year. Many teachers are also involved in various summer studies, as professional development continues to be a major priority for our great teachers. 

    If you haven't already heard, I'd like to share some major news with you. At the Bedford Board of Education's May 29th meeting, the board overwhelmingly approved a plan to utilize the $300,000 in grant funds to subsidize the total cost of the demolition of the former Chanel High School building. The funds were initially awarded to the City of Bedford. The Board of Education will forge an agreement with the city to reimburse them for the total cost less the grant funding, as they will be the responsible party for financing the demolition. The Cuyahoga County Land Bank made the funds available to the City and will be responsible for administering the demolition contract.

    The Board of Education finalized the deal to purchase the Chanel property in June of 2018 after several months of intense negotiations with the former owner. The purchase of the property is vital to the Board of Education as they continue to work toward a Master Facilities Plan for the future.

    The concept of utilizing the property for a future building site was first introduced by the Strategic Planning Team in 2017. They recognized the potential for a campus-like setting of new school buildings and included the site in their vision for the future. After the Board of Education selected and commissioned a well-respected architectural firm, ThenDesign Architecture (TDA), to assess the physical condition of the 63-year old school building, they were faced with the decision to either demolish the building or renovate and restructure it.

    The board was then informed that the State of Ohio would not fund any portion of a renovation to the building. Faced with losing the $300,000 in grant funds and the prospect of foregoing up to $8 million in matching funds, the board opted to raze the building and prepare the site for new construction at some point in the near future. Keeping the building intact would require approximately $100,000 a year, assuming no major repairs were needed. In addition, the staff will continue to be responsible for maintaining the building.

    Should the board have chosen to keep the building to accommodate space for students while buildings are being constructed, according to TDA, it would require the district to invest a minimum of $7-8 million to get the building to basic operating standards—safe, dry, and warm. Those funds would be lost completely when the building is eventually razed for future use.

    The cost to construct a new building the same size is approximately $42 million, while the cost to renovate the entire building is approximately $30 million. Again, the state will not subsidize the cost to renovate the building but will contribute approximately $8 million to construct a brand new building, based upon the state’s current formula.

    As the district determines its next steps, there are many factors that come into play, a major factor being to solicit feedback from you, our stakeholders. As a result, the district will conduct focus group meetings under the direction of TDA, the board-approved architect of record. At those meetings, the architects will educate district stakeholders and property owners, share some possible recommendations, suggestions, and ideas, and solicit feedback from you relative to the proposed phases, needs of the district, grade bands, and locations. We would then work on a bond issue campaign and await news from the state relative to their contribution. We cannot do this alone and will need your help and your support moving forward on this long overdue endeavor.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer, as August 19th will be here before you know it, and we will welcome our students back for another year full of promise, working together to make great strides in student learning and growth.