Northeastern to demolish 3 former buildings, use remaining project funds for more work

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Northeastern Local School District is demolishing three of its former school buildings and working on enhancements using the remaining funds from the new school buildings construction project.

Kenton Ridge, Northridge and Northeastern schools will all be demolished through April, said Superintendent John Kronour.

Demolition for the Northridge building started last week, and it’s now almost fully demolished aside from a wall that’s left on the back side. Bricks are placed on the west side outside the fence for community members who want a piece of school history.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

A fence recently went up around Kenton Ridge for it to be demolished, and bricks will be available after demolition starts. Demolition for Northeastern is expected to begin in April, and bricks will be available after that.

“We understand the emotional attachment to these buildings that have been a part of our community for so long. We made efforts to preserve and repurpose the old KR building, but the lack of interest from local businesses, organizations and government agencies in leasing space did not make it financially viable,” Kronour said.

The commemorative bricks at the old Kenton Ridge and Northeastern buildings are also being relocated. Those at Kenton Ridge will be moved to a memorial garden on the new Kenton Ridge campus, and the Northeastern bricks will be placed in the new “Jet Pride” Plaza area with the Lear 25 in front of the Northeastern school building.

“The process of moving forward is often a blend of excitement and nostalgia. As we make way for new developments, we celebrate the opportunities ahead while cherishing the memories of the past. Although it’s difficult to fully express our emotions at this time, we understand that growth involves embracing the new while honoring what came before,” Kronour told the News-Sun.

At the end of last year, the district partnered with GovDeals to auction off Rolling Hills Elementary School and Northridge School, which were no longer needed after the district completed two new pre-K-12 buildings for Northeastern and Kenton Ridge students.

Rolling Hills, located at 2613 Moorefield Road, is a 52,428-square-foot school building with 29.39 acres of land. It was originally constructed in 1974 with additions in 1997.

Northridge, located at 4445 Ridgewood Road E., is a 75,454-square-foot school building on 29.49 acres of land. The one-story school was originally constructed in 1961.

However, Kronour said the auction sale had to be voided because GovDeals failed to provide legal notification.

“Despite all the publicity we carried out around the auction, including sending out a press release, articles run in the Springfield-News Sun, and postings on our website, a paid advertisement was not placed in the legal notices section of the newspaper. As a result, everything we did became null and void,” he said

Due to this, they plan to redo the legal sale process in the near future for Rolling Hills and the Northridge properties, but no other details are yet known.

The district also held online auctions for items inside Northridge Middle and Elementary School and Rolling Hills Elementary School.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The construction project was under budget by $5-6 million, but officials were waiting until the new buildings were finished and the old buildings were torn down before deciding what those funds would be used for.

The remaining funds will be used for shelter houses at both campuses, athletic department enhancements, relocating the board office and converting the current board office. A portion of the funds were also used for tracks at both schools, and a press box and stands at Kenton Ridge, which were completed last fall.

The carpentry classes at Springfield-Clark Career Technology Center are building multi-purpose shelter houses at both Kenton Ridge and Northeastern campuses, which will serve as outdoor classrooms with electricity, Wi-Fi access and the ability to display technology.

Kronour said, after collaborating with the athletic departments to prioritize enhancements to the athletic facilities, they’ll focus on constructing additional locker rooms at the Northeastern Athletic Complex, installing irrigation systems to upgrade the natural grass athletic fields, and add more storage space. Other projects, such as improving athletic facilities in different phases, will be considered based on available funds.

The district board office will also relocate to 4435 Bosart Road in March on the land purchased for the new Kenton Ridge campus. Once moved into the new space, the district will have an open house for the community.

The current office located at 1414 Bowman Road will then be converted into changing rooms and meeting space for the Northeastern Athletic Complex, and a meeting space for the Transportation Department.

“We are grateful for the patience and support of our community throughout this transition. The invaluable insights provided by our students, families, coaches, staff, and community members have helped shape the upgrades we have planned. These improvements will not only benefit our student-athletes but will also uplift the entire community,” Kronour said.

The district combined several school buildings into the two new buildings, moving from Northeastern High and Middle School, Kenton Ridge High School, Northridge Middle and Elementary School, Rolling Hills Elementary and South Vienna into just two buildings going forward.

The Kenton Ridge building opened last fall on the property near the previous Kenton Ridge High School, and the Northeastern site opened last fall on the northeastern side of the district, adjacent to former South Vienna school.

The district built a new campus for Northeastern for about $42 million and a new campus for Kenton Ridge for about $57 million. For the two new campuses, the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission picked up about 40% of the cost. Voters approved a 37-year, $79 million bond issue for two new Pre-K-through-12 facilities in May 2018.

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