September 2, 2014

Medina
Partly cloudy
68°F

Wadsworth Schools give sneak peeks

WADSWORTH — The smell of new school supplies and backpacks that usually fill the hallways on the first day of school will be joined by the odor of fresh paint and new plastic at four Wadsworth schools.

Wadsworth High School and Isham, Overlook and Valley View elementary schools opened their doors to thousands of people Tuesday night for the unveiling of their brand new buildings before the first day of school Sept. 6.

Visitors to Wadsworth High School tour the new building during an open house Tuesday night. Patrons had limited access because the school is not finished. Work is expected to be done by the first day of school Sept. 6. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY MICHELLE SPREHE)

Visiting parents, students and faculty continually commented on the openness and brightness of the new schools, which feature wider hallways, taller ceilings and giant windows.

John Sussman, a 1979 Wadsworth High School graduate and parent of a 2009 grad, said the new high school seemed more “airy.”

“From what I remember, it was crowded and everything was smaller,” Sussman said. “I think the students will be able to move around a lot better.”

The new high school means students will no longer have to worry about large barrels along hallways that collected drip from leaky pipes.

“There aren’t any trash cans in the hallway to dodge,” Erin Zita, 16, of Wadsworth, said.

Zita, a junior, said she was most excited for the new gymnasium and “can’t wait for school to start.”

“I love it,” Zita said. “I think it will be neat to say we’re the second class to graduate from the new building.”

Isham Principal Nance Watts said she’s also ready for school to start. The new Isham building is nearly identical to Overlook and Valley View, she said.

“Just seeing it filled with kids — to see their excitement over learning — is just a thrill,” Watts said. “I think education will be at an all-time high.”

Isham has walls that are almost completely covered in glass windows, as well as windows near the high ceilings down the hallways that let in ample natural light.

Wadsworth resident Margaret Baldwin, who has a daughter who will be in second grade at Isham, said she was impressed.

“The brightness and everything at the school just can’t help but attract new learning,” Baldwin said. “Change is good.”

Julie Sinkovitz, of Wadsworth, will send her son to kindergarten at Isham in a couple weeks and said she was “blown away” by the new building during the open house.

“I think that having this for everyone to see today is incredible — especially that they opened it up for the whole public,” Sinkovitz said. “Everyone paid for this in their tax dollars.”

Each new elementary school cost about $12 million, and Isham and Valley View were funded by money from the county sales tax. Overlook was funded by a $65.65 million bond issue that was approved in November 2008.

Bond revenue not needed for Overlook will cover some of the $90 million tab for the new Wadsworth High School and Wadsworth Community Center.

Thirty-seven percent of the funding for the elementary schools and 37 percent of the academic-related expenses for the high school are funded by the Ohio School Facilities Commission.

The city of Wadsworth is paying about $16 million for the community center, which is still under construction and should open midfall.

Contact Michelle Sprehe at (330) 721-4048 or msprehe@medina-gazette.com.

School dedication ceremonies
• Wadsworth High School — 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17
• Valley View Elementary — 5 p.m. Sept. 24
• Isham Elementary — 6:15 p.m. Sept. 24
• Overlook Elementary — 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24