CUYAHOGA FALLS — Construction of the planned sixth through 12th grade building took another step forward Wednesday night.

The Cuyahoga Falls Board of Education unanimously approved doing preliminary site work at the site of Bolich Middle School and Newberry Elementary School, which is the future location for a planned 370,000-square-foot school building that would house the district’s sixth through 12th graders.

The legislation passed authorizes ThenDesign Architecture (TDA) to proceed with three contracts for the preliminary site work, which will cost just under $22,600 and will include geotechnical services, a land survey and environmental site assessment.

"I think this is the exciting part, starting now, and I'm eager for this to progress," said Board member David Martin.

Under the legislation, GeoSci in Pennsylvania will provide geotechnical services, which includes collecting 25 borings, for $7,900. Work is scheduled to begin within five working days upon authorization, and a final report will be submitted within 28 days of the approval. McSteen and Associates in Wickliffe will be contracted to do a land survey for $12,500. This survey is estimated to take five to six weeks. PSI, which has offices in Canton and Cleveland, will do phase I of an environmental site assessment for $2,200, which is scheduled to come within about 15 days of authorization.

Superintendent Todd Nichols said that these companies "were on board" with working with the science classes at the two middle schools "and possibly the high school's environmental class to provide authentic learning experiences" during the preliminary site process plan.

Funding for the new school building will come from a 9.83-mill tax issue, which voters passed in November 2019. The tax issue includes a 5.33-mill, 36-year bond issue that would generate about $80.6 million for the building project that has a total price tag of $113.8 million. The state is anticipated to pay the remaining $33.2 million of the cost.

Nichols said in an earlier interview that the district should soon find out whether it would receive money in July from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to both fund the construction of the new building and demolish Bolich and Newberry. Nichols added that the district will receive the $33.2 million in state money at some point, noting it is simply a question of “when” the money will be released, not “if” it will be released. If the district does not receive the state money in July, Nichols said the next opportunity for the release of funds would be in January 2021.

Reporter April Helms can be reached at 330-541-9423, ahelms@recordpub.com, or @AprilKHelms_RPC