TALLMADGE -- The Tallmadge City School District and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission have selected North Canton-based Sol Harris/Day Architecture to design the district's new school buildings.

Domenic Ferrante, AIA partner, said the firm is "honored and excited" to serve as designers for Tallmadge's new schools.

"We look forward to leading the district through a transparent design process," Ferrante said.

In the November 2016 General Election, voters approved a 3.9-mill academic bond issue to consolidate three elementary schools into two buildings on the middle school campus and a 0.9 mill-athletics bond issue to move the athletic facilities from the middle school campus to the high school campus. Sol Harris/Day will design two buildings, one for kindergarten through grade five and the other for grades six through eight, which will be constructed on the current middle school campus. The Ohio School Facilities Commission has agreed to pay 31 percent or $14 million of that $45 million cost. The school district will raise its share of the expense -- $31 million -- through the 3.9-mill academic bond issue.

Because the endeavor is a partnership with the state of Ohio, state officials had an equal vote in which architect was chosen to design the project, according to Wood.

"The district received proposals from 12 highly qualified architecture firms," according to Superintendent Jeff Ferguson and representatives of four finalist firms were interviewed for the job.

"Sol Harris/Day really separated themselves when it came to their ideas on designing buildings focused on 21st century learning," Ferguson said. "They also presented a detailed plan on involving students, staff, teachers, parents and the community in the design phase. These areas were of high importance for the district as these buildings need to last for decades to come."

Steve Wood, chief operating officer for Tallmadge City Schools, said Sol Harris/Day and the OSFC have collaborated on school projects including Lake Middle/High School in Uniontown; Green Local Schools K-12 in Smithville; Jackson High School and Strausser Elementary in Massillon; Worley Elementary in Canton; and the Wayne County Career Center in Smithville.

"We're ready to get started," Ferrante told the Tallmadge Express by phone Feb. 8.

With an architect in place, Wood said representatives of the school district as well as the OFSC and Sol Day/Harris will next focus on hiring a construction manager. Six "very good firms" submitted applications for the job, according to Wood, who said he expects three finalists to be named shortly.

Community input will also be an integral component in the final design of the new schools and stadium, district officials have said. "As we begin the design process, we will be inviting community members, along with teachers, students and parents to join us," Ferguson said. "Tallmadge residents have been involved from the beginning of this facilities project and we want to give them the opportunity to weigh in on the design of the finished project."

The district is in the process of selecting an architect for the athletic facilities project, according to Wood. He said the goal is to coordinate both projects so they run simultaneously.

Email: ewalsh@recordpub.com.

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