North Royalton City Schools Celebrates Ribbon Cutting of New North Royalton Elementary School
On Saturday, August 28, 2021, North Royalton City Schools held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the new 148,000 square-foot North Royalton Elementary School. The school is located at 16400 State Road adjacent to the Cleveland Metroparks Valley Parkway.
Fourth-grade students sang the National Anthem to kick off the festivities. Standing outside the main entrance of the new building with a long, purple ribbon stretched from pillar to pillar, Superintendent Michael Laub welcomed everyone to the joyous occasion. “We are very thankful to our community,” said Laub. “The building is very flexible and will allow our staff to be creative in the manner in which they engage our students.”
Board President Heidi Dolezal thanked the residents and cities of North Royalton and Broadview Heights for their support of this project. Much thanks went to the District’s Community Engagement Task Force, numerous support organizations, parents, teachers and staff, as well as the Committee For Royalton Schools Future who all played a key role allowing this project to become a reality. ThenDesign Architecture and Hammond Construction were the team who designed and constructed the new school. Assistant Superintendent Jim Presot served as project manager. “Our students of this District are the inspiration for this Board of Education,” said Dolezal. “On behalf of my fellow Board members, thank you. We are so very proud of this School District.”
Also present at the ribbon cutting ceremony was former superintendent, Greg Gurka. During the ceremony he said, “It truly is amazing to think that almost exactly two years ago we stood on a dirt laden field and broke ground to prepare for this magnificent structure,” said Gurka. “I wish the entire community, especially our students and staff, all the best as learning officially begins within these walls on Monday morning.”
Lead Principal Kirk Pavelich shared his excitement with the opening of the new building. “I cannot wait for the chance to work with such a wonderful group of people at this building, as we are beyond fortunate to combine the experience and expertise of the staff members from Albion, Royal View and Valley Vista Elementary Schools,” said Pavelich. “These former schools not only provided our community with years of memories and traditions, but they were also recognized at the national and state levels as Blue Ribbon and Hall of Fame award winners. We are eager to make that same impact at North Royalton Elementary School as we strive to enhance the educational opportunities for the preschool through grade four students in this District.”
Three fourth-grade students, Prachi Aswani, Anderson Kubec and Lyla Twardzik came to the podium to share what they are most excited for in their new school.
Aswani said, “I am excited because I will get to meet new teachers and make new friends. The new building has the latest technology and facilities which will help me learn.”
Kubec said, “I am looking forward to all three elementary schools being together. This means all of my friends will be together instead of spread out. I am also excited to have our gym separated from our lunchrooms. As a fourth grader, I am looking forward to being on the top of the school, too. The penthouse!”
Twardzik said, “I am excited to have friends from softball, dance and Girl Scouts to all be in the same building as me. I am also excited to meet new teachers and make new friends.”
“This building has everything we need when it comes to providing those opportunities for our preschool through fourth grade students,” said Pavelich. “Starting on Monday, this community will be proud of everything they come to know about this school. Student-centered learning, flexible learning spaces, student engagement, communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity...these are the things this elementary school will provide for the amazing students in our District.”
After the ribbon was cut and the doors were officially opened, the community enjoyed touring the new facility that is surrounded by the beauty of the Cleveland Metroparks. The school is shaped like a flat capital letter “E” with two large outdoor courtyard areas facing north towards the woods. The District is excited to add a nature trail that will connect to the park in the near future. The exterior of the building has dark brick and orange tones that compliment the wooded surroundings.
The main entrance of the school is covered by a brown floating canopy and has secured glass doors. Visitors walk into a vestibule where they can be buzzed in and verified, adding another layer of safety to the new building. To the left of the entrance are the reception area and administrative offices, as well as a large mechanical and electrical room. There are numerous security cameras, remote controlled doors that lock, and several other safety features incorporated into the design of the building.
Students and staff alike are in awe when they enter into the two-story main lobby that houses a huge carved bear, mounted television monitor, and purple and gold cushioned benches and seats with steps that lead to the second floor. Each grade has 12 teachers that are divided into three learning communities of approximately 100 students each.
The first wing is home to preschool on the lower level and kindergarten on the upper level. Preschool and kindergarten classrooms all have individual restrooms attached as well as smaller children lockers. On the first floor in the preschool wing, there are smaller rooms that will be used for those students with auditory, speech or sensory challenges. There also are four larger classrooms as well as special classrooms offering gross motor skills and life skills training. The upper level has three learning communities with open collaborative areas. Each learning community has three large learning labs and two small group rooms.
On the first floor is a large kitchen and a large multi-use, two-story high room for dining, meetings, special events, or performances. It has a 10-tiered riser-style seating area and numerous tables and chairs.
The middle wing is home to the first grade downstairs and the second grade upstairs. All the wings are similar but they have custom storage and movable partition placement based on staff input during design. The first/second grade wing and the third/fourth grade wing both have collaborative stairs in a media space connecting the upper and lower floors.
On the west end of the building, third graders are located on the first floor and fourth graders are upstairs. There is a gymnasium on this side of the building as well. The gym is large enough for a regulation-size basketball game, can be divided into two by drop down curtains, and has a dual-lane track and a rock climbing wall.
The facility also has a 244-space parking lot that can be used during non-school hours by residents who want to hike, walk or bike along the parkway.
The project was made possible through the passing of a $89.9 million bond issue on May 2, 2017. Funds were used not only for this new elementary school project, but renovations and new construction at North Royalton High School as well as extensive renovations at North Royalton Middle School.
“TDA is thrilled to see North Royalton Elementary School complete and ready to be used by an excited new group of students! It has been great working so collaboratively with North Royalton City Schools and Hammond Construction to bring the spaces to life that will facilitate the District’s clear educational vision.”
-Claire Markwardt Bank, Project Manager, ThenDesign Architecture
“Working on this project has been such an honor for Hammond Construction. No doubt, we are proud of the finished building, but the journey to get to this point was very rewarding in and of itself. As with all construction projects, there are challenges, but the partnership and collaboration between Greg Gurka, Biagio Sidoti, Jim Presot, the TDA team and Hammond was so strong that any obstacles were easily overcome. We are excited to see this school become a setting where North Royalton’s young students can thrive.”
- Bill Schurman, Owner, Hammond ConstructionCLICK HERE
for The Principals’ Bear Huddle Video - created by our four principals - showing their “Disney” excitement for the opening of the new North Royalton Elementary School.