Posted February 6, 2020
When will new schools open?
The Elyria Schools will open five new school sites in 2020 and 2021:
- Ely Elementary (K-4), 312 Gulf Road, Opening August 2020
- Hamilton Elementary (PK-4), 1215 Middle Ave., Opening August 2020
- Northwood Campus (K-8), 570 North Abbe Road, Opening August 2020
- Eastern Heights Campus (K-8), 528 Garford Ave., Opening August 2021
- Westwood Campus (K-8), Elyria Township, Opening August 2021
When will the existing schools permanently close?
The new schools will open over the course of the next two years and the existing schools will close as the new ones open. The existing Ely Elementary, Franklin Elementary, Windsor Elementary and Northwood Middle schools will close permanently at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
The existing schools of McKinley Elementary, Prospect Elementary, Oakwood Elementary, Crestwood Elementary and Eastern Heights Middle will permanently close at the end of the 2020-21 school year.
My student will be a fifth grader in 2020, where will they go?
If your residence is located in Northwood Campus attendance area, your student will attend fifth grade at the new Northwood Campus in 2020-21.
Please use the interactive “look up” tool to find your address on the attendance area map.
If your residence is located outside the Northwood Campus attendance area, your student will attend fifth grade in their existing elementary school.
My student currently attends Franklin Elementary School and will be in fifth grade next year. The new Hamilton Elementary building only serves preschool through fourth grade and the new Eastern Heights Campus doesn’t open until 2021-2022. Where will my fifth grader attend school in 2020-2021?
This is a great question, and one that is still under review.
Scenarios are currently being studied to address this matter. Further information will be available soon.
My attendance area boundaries have changed and I would like my student to continue attending school with classmates of the school they currently attend. What should I do?
Students whose boundaries have changed may opt to complete a “cohort choice application” found at the following link: https://www.elyriaschools.org/Page/943. Applications are also available at elementary and middle schools.
The cohort choice application offers the opportunity for students whose home school has changed during redistricting to continue attending a school with their current classmates.
Parents must complete one application per student and return completed applications by February 21, 2020, to the Elyria Schools Pupil Services Office, 42101 Griswold Road, Elyria, OH 44035.
The option to request enrollment in a school outside the boundaries of a student’s natural attendance area only applies to students who’ve been impacted by redistricting and who wish to continue with their cohort of classmates. (Approval of the application is dependent primarily upon building, program and classroom capacity.)
All parents/guardians will receive confirmation of their enrolled school in May 2020.
The map indicates that my attendance area has changed and I would like my student to now attend the school that is within the boundaries of my neighborhood. What should I do?
There is no need for you to do anything! Your student will be counted in the enrollment for your neighborhood school unless we receive a “Cohort Choice Form” that indicates a preference to continue with classmates of the school your student currently attends.
If my boundaries have changed and my student opts to stay with classmates of the school they currently attend that is outside my neighborhood boundaries, will my student receive transportation to and from school?
No. School bus transportation is provided within attendance areas. If a parent/guardian completes the Cohort Choice Application opting to attend a school outside their new school boundaries, bus transportation will not be provided.
How will I know if my student is eligible for bus transportation to the school that is located in my attendance area?
If your student lives more than 1.25 miles from school, they will be eligible for bus transportation.
If your residence is near a roadway, intersections or railroad crossings that have been deemed as hazardous crossings by First Student Transportation you may be eligible for bus transportation even if you live within the 1.25 mile radius. This will be determined by First Student Transportation prior to the 2020-21 school year and you receive notification of your eligibility.
If you have a question related to transportation, please contact First Student, 440-284-8030, or the Elyria Schools Operations Department, 440-284-8206.
Will there be opportunities for parents and students to tour new schools before the new school year begins?
Absolutely! The new schools of Ely Elementary, Hamilton Elementary and Northwood Campus will open this fall for the 2020-21 school year. We will host opening ceremonies in the fall of 2020 to allow students and parents an opportunity to tour the schools before the first day of class.
We’ll do the same the following year when the new Eastern Heights and Westwood Campuses open.
Look for a calendar of events this spring on www.elyriaschools.org and on Facebook/elyriacityschools and Twitter/elyriaschools.
Campus schools are new to Elyria. How do they work?
Campus schools essentially function as independent elementary and middle schools, but under one roof.
The new Northwood, Eastern Heights and Westwood sites are campus schools. They will each serve students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Within the campus, kindergarten through fourth grade will attend the elementary school while fifth through eighth grade attend the middle school.
The elementary and middle schools will have their own unique entrances, parking areas and main offices.
There also will be separate drop off/pick up areas for bussing. Elementary and middle school students will not ride school buses at the same time. (Before the start of the 2020-2021 school year, parents whose students are eligible for bussing will receive a letter indicating pick-up and drop-off locations.)
Each campus will have separate elementary and middle school offices with their own administrators and school staff. The elementary and middle schools will offer grade-level wings with all their own facilities within the wings, including restrooms.
Elementary and middle school students will not co-mingle. There are some common spaces that are shared, such as the dining hall or health clinic, for instance, but in these settings, elementary and middle school areas are separated.
Elementary and middle school students have separate gymnasiums and separate playgrounds/outside areas, and the playgrounds are fenced for safety.
The elementary and middle schools within the campus sites also will start and end at different times of the day as they do now. This will help alleviate traffic congestion at the campus sites.
Why do we have two stand-alone elementary schools and how will students transition from these schools to campus schools in fifth grade?
The district is large with more than 6,300 students all told. As the district planned for new schools in 2016, a five-school plan was devised to accommodate all students in all quadrants of the city.
During the planning stage, school officials determined that the new schools would be built on properties that the district already owns.
The properties that will house Northwood, Eastern Heights and Westwood are large enough to accommodate sprawling campus buildings.
The properties that will house the new Ely Elementary and Hamilton Elementary have much less acreage, but they are well located to a large populous of students who live in the surrounding neighborhoods.
This is how the five-school plan came to be.
If your child attends Ely or Hamilton Elementary Schools in grades K-4, they will transition to one of the middle school campus sites upon entering fifth grade as indicated on the new attendance area map. This is essentially the same practice that takes place now when elementary students move to middle school except the transition will now occur in fifth grade instead of sixth.
What can we look forward to in the new schools?
The new schools are amazing, and they offer all the modern, sophisticated learning spaces students need today to access the world around them and to prepare them for future careers and college.
There are unique design elements to our new schools that will make them special and quite unlike any other facilities in the district.
Grade levels will be housed in their own exclusive settings so that students of the same ages can interact and collaborate, and teachers can function easily as grade-level teams.
The grade-level units will have interesting multi-use spaces called Extended Learning Areas (ELAs) with creative seating and tools for collaboration and hands-on learning. Grade-level units also will offer individual classrooms with more traditional set ups. All spaces throughout the schools will feature the most advanced technology and tools in education.
As conveniences go, the new schools will be temperature controlled for hot and cold weather to offer students a comfortable learning environment no matter the weather outside.
Finishes within the school are bright, cheerful and inspiring.
Grade level units feature their own unique color palette that appears on floors, and in touches on the walls and ductwork in each interior space.
The colors are handsome to the eye but they are functional, too. In what’s called “wayfinding,” the colors serve as a map of sorts to help students navigate their way through the building and ultimately to their grade-level “home base.”
Wayfinding is just one way to make big schools feel smaller for students who are traveling the halls. The specially designated grade-level color palettes offer continuity of design throughout the district.
New schools also have important safety enhancements like interior and exterior cameras, well-lit parking areas and entrances, high visibility inside and outside the building, secure vestibules and controlled entries, security doors within to close areas of the building if needed.
In partnership with the Elyria Police Department and Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, the district will employ law enforcement officers within the new campuses to assist students and families and further enhance security.
To learn more about the progress of the new schools and to take a virtual reality tour of the sites, visit www.elyriaschools.org.
FAQs Posted in 2016 prior to the November election.
Update: The bond issue for new elementary and middle schools was approved by voters in November of 2016. Construction on the new schools began thereafter.
Will the state money still be there if we wait until some later date to approve this issue?
The state will pay 67% of the cost of our new schools, but only if voters approve a bond issue to pay for the local share of the building project. Voters have a limited window to vote for the bond, only 13 months. That means the schools must place this issue on the November ballot for voter approval.
Can’t we just renovate the buildings we have now?
We could, but the State of Ohio won’t contribute any money if we do. They have reviewed our buildings and determined that it would cost more to renovate than it would to build brand new buildings. Further, our current schools have classrooms that are too small by today’s educational standards and they are ill-equipped to handle today’s technology needs. It would be very difficult, if not impossible to make the renovations necessary to make them conducive to education.
What’s included in the building plan?
This building plan will have five new facilities for our Pre-K – 8th grade learners. The plan includes one Pre-k – 8 building, two K-8 buildings and two K-4 buildings. The plan will also include a new football stadium to replace the deteriorating Ely Stadium and funds to demolish older schools so that the land can be sold for other purposes.
What will happen with the buildings and pieces of property where there will no longer be school buildings?
Once the new buildings are complete, the old buildings will be demolished. The state will pay 67% of the cost to tear them down. We will work closely with the city and with community members to find the best, most desirable future use for the land.
I don’t have children in the District. How would new schools affect me?
This will benefit every resident, whether they currently have children in our schools or not. Five new schools will immediately make homes more marketable and valuable to prospective residents. Moreover, this project will put Elyria residents to work and help local businesses. This will improve our economy and has the potential to help all of us.
Why was my neighborhood school chosen to be eliminated?
Just as education is changing, so are our enrollment patterns. It’s no longer efficient and effective to operate eleven elementary and middle across the city. With this bond Issue, we can have five, brand-new, state-of-the-art schools that are the right size for the city.
How will new buildings save the District money?
We are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars every year trying to keep up with decades-old buildings. New buildings will mean new roofs, new electrical systems, new fire suppression systems, and new security systems. The new buildings will contain new fixtures that won’t cost residents so much money to maintain. Further, by reducing our number of schools from 11 to 5, we will be able to significantly reduce operating costs.
What is the District doing to make sure the buildings will be “green” or environmentally friendly?
The OSFC requires any buildings that are funded by them to meet the “silver standard” for their LEED rating system. This system includes standards on heating and cooling, recycled materials, and green construction practices. We will need to meet these standards to acquire OSFC funding. In addition to these requirements, other energy-saving options may be explored during the planning stages.
What does this construction project mean for our local economy?
This bond issue and construction project is Elyria’s best opportunity to improve education, revitalize our economy and help put people to work. We expect a number of Elyria residents will be involved in the construction of the new schools.
Where will students be going to school while construction is being completed?
The new schools will be constructed on existing sites alongside buildings that are in operation, and on some sites where students currently do not attend school. This will allow us to keep our current schools open until the new sites are completed. We do not anticipate a need for “swing” or alternate sites while the new buildings are under construction.
How much is this going to cost?
The issue will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $11 per month.
The schools don’t look that bad. Is this really needed?
Our schools may look OK from the outside, but inside, they are not the secure, safe and inviting spaces our kids need to succeed. We face serious, expensive building problems every day, such as outdated electrical systems, old boilers and heating systems, and leaking roofs. While clean and well-maintained, they are simply beyond simple repairs.
These problems, and many more, cost millions and repairs are a series of ongoing patches rather than long-term solutions. Most importantly, they hurt education.
Can any of this money be used for salaries?
No. By law, this money is only permitted for building new schools and removing the former elementary and middle school buildings.