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Published: Monday, 1/7/2013

Central Trail Elementary opens to parents, students for sneak peek

BY KELLY McLENDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Brad Rieger, superintendent of Sylvania Schools, shakes hands with visitors at the new Central Trail Elementary on Saturday. Brad Rieger, superintendent of Sylvania Schools, shakes hands with visitors at the new Central Trail Elementary on Saturday.
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Orly Phillips stood in amazement in the middle of a kindergarten classroom at Central Trail Elementary School on Saturday afternoon. The day was designated as a sneak peek preview of the building, which has been under construction since August, 2011.

“I am giddy,” Ms. Phillips said. “Look at this school. It's gorgeous.”

Her two children, a third grader and a kindergartner, will attend the school when winter break ends on Monday.

Both children were excited, and smiled as they looked around the building, noting the changes from the previous school.

PHOTO GALLERY: Visitors tour Central Trail Elementary

“No more sharing lockers,” third grader Shaina Phillips said.

The original Central Elementary is on Central Avenue in Sylvania Township and has an 80-plus-year history. But because the building is on a busy road, and its resources were no longer serving students, the decision was made to build a school at 4321 Mitchaw Rd.

In October, 2011, Principal Toni Gerber announced to the Sylvania School District’s board of education that the name Central Trail Elementary was selected from suggestions gathered from a committee that included teachers and parents.

The new name recalls the old school and also acknowledges that the school property will be part of a bike trail that is owned by the Olander Park System.

Central Trail Elementary has 39 classrooms, plus an art room, music room, and computer lab. Updated technological features, such as a geothermal heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system, windows in the gym, and terrazzo flooring in corridors, also set the structure apart.

“This place is awesome,” Ms. Phillips said. “My jaw dropped.”

Although the entire structure itself impressed many parents and other visitors to the building, Ms. Gerber said it was everything she thought it would be, and more.

“I had a vision. It was so beyond. I couldn’t wait until today,” she said.

Students Jacob Phillips, 5, left, and his sister Shaina Phillips, 8, check out the books in the multimedia room/library. Students Jacob Phillips, 5, left, and his sister Shaina Phillips, 8, check out the books in the multimedia room/library.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

While she stood at the entrance, she said many parents approached her and gasped at the sight of the interior. With rich colors such as bright orange and yellow, the school infuses elements of nature into its overall design.

The classrooms also have large windows that provide views of the countryside. Some classrooms also feature a view of a large orange and blue playground.

For parents Mohammad and Mona El-Sayyad, the sight was almost unbelievable.

“It’s amazing,” Mr. El-Sayyad said, complimenting the architect.

“It gives you this warm feeling. My daughter is very excited about her classroom.”

The cost to build the school was roughly $13.5 million, which was paid for by a 2008 bond issue.

The school, at 72,557 square feet, was purposely designed to project a parklike setting. It incorporates skylights to allow the sun to shine into the building.

While the building created a warm feeling for Mr. El-Sayyad, his wife said they couldn’t have been more satisfied with the results.

“We are very happy,” she said.

An open house for the rest of the Sylvania community is to take place at Central Trail from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 15. More information is available at www.sylvaniaschools.org.

Contact Kelly McLendon at kmclendon@theblade.com or 419-206-0356 or on Twitter at @MyTownSylvania.



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