The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


        Fourteen years ago, planning began for a new Northwood school building. Planning for the new school began in 2003 with then-Superintendent Ron Matter, now the superintendent at the Penta Career Center.

        On Tuesday, the new pre-kindergarten through grade 12 school building will open for business. Current Superintendent Greg Clark says this signals the end to a long, enduring and gradual process that has seen the fruits of numerous people's labors rewarded.


        Funding for the building, which covers nearly 137,000 square feet, came in at $27.5 million. The total cost of the project — $35 million — saw, or will see, the old buildings, except for the high school, torn down.

        The Northwood endeavor was paid for in part two years ago when voters approved a 4.9 mill, 37-year property tax to pay for approximately two-thirds of the price. A grant from the Ohio Schools Commission paid for the remaining $11.5 million.

        The new building occupies the area between the current the high school and Olney Elementary. The class of 2018 will be the first group of students to graduate from the new school. The old high school is being renovated and will become the central office for the administration.

        "It's been a long time getting to this point. This community has a long history of supporting our schools, and that commitment is very much appreciated by those of us who serve in the school district," said Clark. "It's been a blessing for the students that have gone through Northwood in the past and for the new students."

        The two-story building houses the grades PK-6 students on the lower floor and the 7-12 students on the top floor. Clark says “it's got plenty of modern accommodations,” like 149 security cameras — 33 on the exterior and 116 on the interior — LED lighting, Internet access throughout the building and a white roof that reduces heat absorption and thermal ice storage to reduce cooling costs. It is also fully air conditioned and has high-efficiency boilers. The building covers 17.1 acres and the total campus area is 39.6 acres.

        Architecture includes vaulted ceilings, and new amenities that include an extended learning center for pre-school to kindergarten. The new school will also be equipped to handle current and future technology upgrades.

        “It will have the infrastructure to manage all of us being online at the same time,” Clark said. “We are able to handle technology now because we have made an investment in technology. We are also able to be online at the same time, but the older buildings do not have enough plugs in the rooms. The spaces are designed to allow for collaboration and student-lead learning. The opportunities for the kids and the staff to really be in the digital age will be awesome.”

        The school will also have the latest single access points, designed with security in mind.

        “This community stepped up and invested in young people,” Clark said. “This is not just about serving our kids now. It is about serving our kids 50 years from now. They too will benefit from this investment. This community has a proud history. When they know there is a need they step up and take care of it.

        "It's a 21st-century design," continued Clark. "It was great to have the community come in and see the building during our open house.”

        The first open house was held Monday, the second one was Friday and a spaghetti dinner to celebrate went with it before the varsity football game with neighborhood rival Lake.

Unique opportunity

        Clark says having all of the Northwood students together in one building presents a unique opportunity for some of the younger students to get to know the older students.

        "We believe there's an opportunity to have older students mentor younger students. We're going to have a PK-12 pep rally this fall to get all the students in one place, to cheer on our athletes and things like that that we couldn't do in the past," said Clark. "There are some sacrifices — there isn't a neighborhood school on the other side of town — but overall, the benefits outweigh the sacrifices.”

        In addition, the old Olney and Lark entrances have been preserved and relocated inside the building — one at each end. A high resolution of the Lark Lions original logo has been put into a wall of the gymnasium.

        "We wanted to make sure the new building paid homage to the long history of a great school district,” Clark said. “The old limestone facades are incorporated into the new building inside the cafeteria and the new school has two new gymnasiums, Olney Gym, which is named after the old school, the elementary gym is named Lark Gym after Lark School."

        Olney Gym has bleacher seating for over 900 people and room for 600 chairs while Lark Gym can seat nearly 100 in the bleachers and can fit 450 chairs into the facility.

        The Olney Elementary (1957) building came down in June and Lark Elementary was razed this summer. The 1938 Olney School, also known later as Northwood Middle School and most recently as Northwood Elementary, is scheduled for demolition in October. The 1938 Olney School once housed an entire K-12 Ross Township school district, which went defunct when the Northwood Local School District was created.

        Northwood's first high school graduating class was 1964. Previously, most kids in the district attended Olney High School, but on the west side of the district most went to Rossford Exempted Village Schools. Before that, kids could attend school through eighth grade before attending high school at either Rossford or Lake. (— includes contributions from news writer Melissa Burden)



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