The Erie School District is continuing a study on whether to renovate or replace Edison Elementary School, but construction will take place in the 90-year-old building long before the school board makes a decision.
The school board agreed to the district architects to undertake the study.
Council also approved the District Administration’s proposal to upgrade ventilation systems in Edison, whether the school is renovated or demolished and replaced with a new building just south of the current site at 1921 East Lake Road.
The board of directors agreed to both plans during its non-voting study session on Wednesday. District Architects, along with Sharon’s HHSDR Architects and Engineers at the meeting, outlined options for the 435 student Edison, which was built in 1931 and has not had a significant renovation since 1952 .
Erie Schools Superintendent Brian Polito said the study would take about three months and the administration would review its findings with the school board.
Once the study was completed and the school board’s decision made, it would take years to renovate or re-build Edison, with the school continuing to operate during that time, said Neal Brokman, executive director of school district operations.
In the meantime, Polito said, the district needs to upgrade Edison’s ventilation systems to improve air quality, especially given the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since we’re going to have students there for a few years, we have to address the concerns,” Polito said in an interview.
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Classes resumed last Monday in the Erie School District, which has 10,500 students, with a county mask mandate in effect for students and staff. The statewide mask mandate goes into effect Tuesday.
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Ventilation upgrades at Edison are expected to cost as much as $ 100,000, mostly due to the age of the building, according to the architects.
Architects sent the school’s plans to the contractor for review to determine pricing on Friday, Brokman said. He said the district is expected to get a more accurate cost estimate by September 17.
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Polito said the district will pay for ventilation upgrades, regardless of the cost, using a portion of the $ 97.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds it has received.
In 2018, two years before the pandemic, the Erie School District launched an $ 80.8 million building renovation project that benefited all 16 school buildings in the district, with improvements including hallways in security, updated ventilation systems, new windows, improved gymnasiums and new roofs and new parking lots.
With the receipt of pandemic assistance, the district was able to allocate much of the federal money to new ventilation systems, freeing up more of the $ 80.8 million for other projects, such as a new Edison school and the complete renovation of Erie. High school.
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The school board has already agreed with administration that Edison needs an overhaul, with the renovations already discussed. But the administration said building a new Edison school might make more sense because of Edison’s age; the cost of renovations; and the difficulty of moving Edison’s students to another school while their building is destroyed and rebuilt.
Putting the new school there would allow students to stay in the existing building while a new building is being constructed, Brokman said.