Aurora schools recommend new high school based on community input

Craddock Elementary School in Aurora, Ohio. Image via Google Maps

Aurora school district will begin planning construction of a new high school following the recommendation of the administration and a majority of residents who responded to a community survey.

Superintendent Mike Roberto presented the recommendation at the district’s June 26 board meeting.

The district has been planning to construct either a new high school or elementary facility since May 2022, tearing down the 112-year-old Craddock Elementary School, which would otherwise require expensive renovations. The district will fund the project with a bond measure on the ballot in 2024.

In the survey, out of 143 responses, 79 favored the high school plan, 35 voted for the elementary school, seven chose neither plan and 22 declined to answer.

“Of those submitting the survey as well as the conversations we had at each of the stations, there was a clear lean towards favoring the high school plan,” Roberto said in a YouTube video published after the board meeting. “​​The open house discussions as a whole provided great feedback from all perspectives.”

Among those who want to build a new high school, many said this would give the district room to grow and offer a state-of-the-art facility as the district’s focal point.

“The high school provides the best stepping stone for young adults moving on to college or the working world,” wrote one parent of a child in the district.

There were also responses from those who did not favor either plan. Another parent within the district suggested instead to build a new elementary school on the lot where Craddock currently stands.

A few people, who also voted for neither plan, felt there was not enough information at the time they took the survey to vote in favor of the high school or elementary school plan.

“Those favoring the elementary school plan most commonly pointed out that it would address our most immediate needs and that it was the overall and more cost effective plan,” Roberto said.

To build a new elementary school would cost about $57 million. The new high school would cost $102 million, according to the district’s estimates.

Over 90% of those who took the survey are residents and registered voters in the district. In all, 73% of people who took the survey were in favor of the high school plan.

“There was a nice representation of the community from parents, community members, employees and even alumni,” Roberto said.

Roberto’s recommendations included building a new school for grades 9-12, relocating grades 6-8 and the administration offices to the current high school building, moving grades 3-5 to Harmon, housing pre-kindergarten and grades 1-2 at Leighton, and keeping kindergarten at Miller.

He said the construction committee recommended siting the new building in the field between the current high school and Harmon Middle School.

Over the next year, the district’s architectural firm, ThenDesign, will create more detailed specifications and cost projections for the new building and for any upgrades required at the current buildings.

During this timeframe the district will also form a “New Building Steering Committee,” which will provide input from students, parents, staff, board members, community members and members of the business community.

Following this, they’ll develop details about the project’s exterior (traffic patterns, parking and practice fields) and interior factors (room design, auditorium and weight room).

More information on the project’s history as well as periodic updates are available on the district’s Master Planning Project website.

Paige Fisher
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