State money approved for Falls middle, high school project

370,000-square-foot building planned on campus of Bolich Middle School

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
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 — The plan to build a new middle and high school building took another major step forward this week.

The State Controlling Board on Monday, May 24, approved nearly $32.8 million for the district's 6-12 building project. The total cost of the building construction is $88.5 million.

The board of education on June 2 will be asked to approve a resolution accepting the state money, according to Kristy Stoicoiu, the district's treasurer. If the board adopts the measure, Stoicoiu said the district would continue with building design work.

The 370,000-square-foot structure 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. 

The State Controlling Board's approval was the second official step that had to happen so the district could receive the state money. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission approved the funds for the district in April.

The district is paying for the majority of the project's expense with money generated by a bond issue.

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 $55.8 million to help pay for constructing the new 6-12 building and abating and tearing down Bolich and Newberry.

The remaining $24.8 million from the bond issue will be used to pay for 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.

Both Bolich and Newberry will be abated and demolished to make room for the new building. Newberry is scheduled to be torn down this fall, while the demolition of Bolich is not yet scheduled. District officials are hoping to officially break ground in the fall of 2022 and to finish the building in fall of 2025.

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