Cuyahoga Falls schools one step closer to state money for new middle/high school building

Groundbreaking eyed in fall of 2022

Phil Keren
Akron Beacon Journal
Bolich Middle School is located at 2630 13th St. in Cuyahoga Falls. The school district is planning to construct a building for grades 6-12 on the site where Bolich and the former Newberry Elementary School stand.

Cuyahoga Falls is a step closer to getting a new combined middle and high school partially paid for with state funds.

The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) recently approved nearly $32.8 million in state funding to help pay for the construction of a 370,000-square-foot building for grades 6-12 in the Cuyahoga Falls City School District. The total cost of the building construction is $88.5 million.

The building will be constructed on the campus of Bolich Middle School and the former Newberry Elementary School. The campus boundaries are Portage Trail, 13th Street, Silver Lake Avenue and Norma Street. 

The state money also will help pay for the abatement and demolition of Bolich, estimated to cost $862,513, and Newberry, which is expected to cost $381,616. 

Bolich still is being used as a middle school, while Newberry closed in 2005 as a result of budget cuts. The Newberry building was then leased for 12 years by Summit Christian School until the school moved to a building in the Woodridge school district in 2017.

The Cuyahoga Falls City School District is participating in the OFCC's Classroom Facilities Assistance Program. The state's Controlling Board still needs to give final approval to releasing the $32.8 million in state funds May 24. If that occurs, Cuyahoga Falls Superintendent Dr. Todd Nichols said contracts can be established with Then Design Architecture (TDA), and Hammond Construction, the project's construction manager.

Nichols said the plan is to abate and demolish Newberry this fall.  

Groundbreaking for the new 6-12 building is expected to happen in fall of 2022, with the project tentatively slated to be finished in fall of 2025, Nichols said.

How the district will fund its share of project cost

In November 2019, voters approved a 9.83-mill tax levy that included a 5.33-mill, 36-year bond issue that will generate about $80.6 million.

Of that amount, the district will use $55.84 million to help pay for constructing the new 6-12 building and abating and tearing down Bolich and Newberry.

This photo shows the hill between Bolich Middle School and the former Newberry Elementary School in Cuyahoga Falls. The Cuyahoga Falls City School District is planning to construct a 370,000-square-foot building for grades 6-12 in this area.

The remaining bond issue money — $24.8 million — is paying for items such as constructing a 1,400-seat performing arts center, a 200-seat Black Box Theater, and a 5,000 seat stadium. The state money is not being used for these features.

The district has started community outreach on the project. On April 15, the district hosted an event that allowed community members to meet TDA and Hammond Construction representatives.

The board of education will meet to discuss "educational visioning" for the new building 7:45 a.m. Thursday at at the Summit County Educational Service Center, 420 Washington Ave.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.