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Sylvania board passes plan for new school

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Conceptual plans for a new Maplewood School on the current site of the Sylvania Board of Education's Burnham Building headquarters were approved last week by the school board.

The 63,000 square-foot, brick-faced building designed by SSOE of Toledo will have a bus entrance on Jodi Young Drive and a main entrance facing a parking lot to be built on the current Maplewood site. The central office, media center, gymnasium, and specialty classrooms all will be on one level, while a two-story classroom wing will face Monroe Street.

"I think it looks gorgeous. It utilizes the space very well aesthetically," Jim Nusbaum, the school board's president, said after the board's unanimous vote. The new school will complement the Sylvania Branch Library, diagonally across Monroe, particularly well, he said.

Presenting the plan to Sylvania City Council a week earlier, Superintendent of Schools Brad Rieger said the new building was positioned to keep as much green space as possible around the school and was moved farther from Monroe than the Burnham Building stands in response to neighbors' comments at public meetings.

"Thank you for taking all the community input and putting it into the final building - it looks great," council member Katie Cappellini told Mr. Rieger.

The school is expected to cost about $10 million and will be designed to house about 500 students, up from 380 at the current Maplewood.

The larger building, with 24 classrooms, is intended to accommodate redistricting to ease crowding in neighboring Highland Elementary, Mr. Rieger said.

The building will be designed so that the classroom wing can be closed off from the rest of the school for after-hours events, he said.

Access to the library-media center, whose curving glass outer wall will be an architectural highlight of the structure, will be set up so that it can be accessible or locked off during such events.

Decorative crests displaying pineapples - "the universal sign of hospitality" - will be included at six locations on the new building, the superintendent said.

And when existing Maplewood School is torn down, wrought-iron gratings and the cornerstones will be saved for decorative uses on the new school's grounds, he said.

District officials hope to start building the new school next May and have it open in August, 2011.

Before construction can begin, however, the Burnham Building has to be torn down.

And for that to happen, the school district first must move its administrative offices somewhere else.

District spokesman Nancy Crandell said a tentative relocation site has been identified but, as of last week, details still needed to be ironed out.

A special school board meeting was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. june 29 for further discussion.

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