A New School Rises in Westlake

As the curtain lifts on 2019, a big change is also taking place on the community and education landscape of Westlake.

Significant progress is being made on the new Westlake Elementary School, now under construction on Center Ridge Road just west of Dover Center.

Occupying real estate adjacent to Westlake Porter Public Library, the new building will serve Pre-K through fourth-grade students.

It is set to open for the 2019-2020 school year. It will replace Holly Lane, Hilliard, Dover and Bassett Elementary Schools.

When it opens, students in grades PreK-4 will experience state-of-the art learning opportunities in three separate ‘houses’ – one for PK-Kindergarten, another for grades 1-2 and one for grades 3-4.

“It has been really exciting watching our new school take shape. We are very proud that even in a challenging construction market, we have been able to build the exact building that we promised our community,” reports Dr. Scott Goggin, Westlake Supt. of Schools. “This elementary school will provide the youngest learners in Westlake a premier educational facility for decades to come while maintaining the community’s investment in its schools.”

Ground was broken in Sept. 2017 after Westlake voters approved a bond issue. Westlake Schools and the City of Westlake then agreed to swap certain community real estate sites to make the project possible.

The City is also taking over the former school administration building at Dover Center and Hilliard. The City is making $1 million in improvements to the Center Ridge/Dover Center intersection.

Westlake Elementary School Facts

  • The 154,038 sq ft. building will house students in grades PreK-4
  • Projected enrollment: 1,200 students
  • The building is designed with three separate pods called “houses,” including a one-story house for the PK and kindergarten grades, a two-story house for grades 1-2 and another two-story house for grades 3-4.

Central to the plan are the administration offices and the core facilities, including the gymnasium, cafetorium (cafeteria/auditorium), and art and music rooms. Each of the houses has a central Extended Learning Area (ELA). These spaces are flexible and adaptable and can easily be rearranged to accommodate a wide variety of activities and group sizes.

Construction Updates

Here are project updates as construction headed into the holidays:

Houses 1-2 & Kindergarten: Installation of light gauge roof trusses began mid-November, Structural steel was being erected in the PK-K wing the first week of December.

New school construction site

House 3-4: Installation of light gauge roof trusses was substantially completed, and metal deck placement is about 60% complete. Dense glass exterior wall sheathing started on the west elevation in mid-November and is installed in about 80% of the wing. Installation of interior metal studs continues.

Area A: Receiving/storage, kitchen, cafeteria/stage, mechanical area, art room, special education classrooms, mechanical room: The installation of light gauge roof trusses and metal deck on the cafeteria and gymnasium and substantially complete. Installation of the cold formed metal wall framing began in October and the exterior wall sheathing is substantially complete. Installation of interior metal studs is substantially complete. Slab on grade concrete floor is being poured the first week of December in the gymnasium and cafeteria section of the building. The HVAC mechanical/electrical/plumbing continues in the main mechanical room and west end of the building. The project remains on time and on budget. The $36 million campus is slated to be open late summer, 2019.

Westlake Elementary School FAQs

How will the new elementary school be structured?

The building is designed with three separate pods called “houses,” including a one-story house for the PK and kindergarten grades, a two-story house for grades 1-2 and another two-story house for grades 3-4. Central to the plan are the administration offices and the core facilities, including the gymnasium, cafetorium, and art and music rooms. Each of the houses has a central Extended Learning Area (ELA). These spaces are flexible and adaptable and can easily be rearranged to accommodate a wide variety of activities and group sizes.

New Westlake Preschool to 4th grade Elevation Renderings

What is the anticipated student enrollment?

Based on current data, projected student enrollment is approximately 1,200 students.

How large is the building?

The building is 154,038 gross square feet.

What is the student capacity of the new building?

Based on 25 students per classroom, the capacity would be approximately 1,400 students, with room to accommodate more if needed.

How many principals will be leading the building?

There will be a principal for the PK and kindergarten house, a principal for the grades 1-2 and a principal for the grades 3-4.

How will you handle traffic on the new site and on surrounding streets?

  • Construction traffic will be limited to Center Ridge Road for the bulk of the project. Light construction traffic will occur on Westown Boulevard during driveway creation and connecting utility work.
  • The land exchange with the city included an agreement for road improvements on Center Ridge Road, including the addition of a left turn lane into the site, a committed right turn lane to handle traffic into the site, and a four-way intersection at Glenmore Drive with a traffic signal. Since then, the city has decided to add an additional light at Westown Boulevard and Dover Center Road.

How much parking will be available?

Total car spaces equal 347, with 121 of those reserved for events.

How will special services, such as gifted and intervention programs, be structured?

We are working on a plan to align the practices of the four buildings to best meet the needs of our students. We will provide updates once the plan is finalized.

How many special events held after hours do you anticipate throughout the year?

This is part of the transition planning being addressed by our administrative team and our PTA units, which will look at consolidating events.

Will start and end times for the elementary school change?

We anticipate a schedule similar to the current school bell schedule.

Will the 1-mile radius for busing still be imposed with the new building?

Yes, the current 1-mile walk area for PK-4 will remain in effect for the new elementary school.

How many buses will be on site daily?

The lot can handle 30 buses at any one time. Bus routing is under development for the new attendance area. Bus routes will be communicated prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year to allow ample time for parents and students to prepare and plan.

How will you prevent parents from parking at Westlake Porter Public Library or on Westown Boulevard to pick up their children?

We will communicate to our parents that they are not to park in those areas.

How will busing be structured?

We are also working on a plan to determine bus routes for the new building. These will be communicated in plenty of time to prepare students and parents.

What will happen to the current elementary buildings and properties?

Intent is to eventually raze the four elementary buildings and/or repurpose one or more buildings for school use. The land will be used for field space.

Will traffic flow and parking change on the Lee Burneson Middle School/Dover Intermediate School campus with Dover Elementary closing?

Dover Elementary School will be razed and the current parking area will be redesigned to improve traffic flow on the site.

How many classrooms will be in the building?

  • PK-K Wing: Pre-K Classrooms – 4; Small Group – 4; Kindergarten Classrooms – 10; Motor Skills – 1; Commons/Breakout – 1
  • 1st Grade Wing: Classrooms – 10; Special Education Classrooms – 3; Small Group Room – 3; Commons/Breakout – 2; Sensory Room – 1
  • 2nd Grade Wing: Classrooms – 10; Special Education Classrooms – 3; Small Group Room – 3; Commons/Breakout – 2; Sensory Room – 1
  • 3rd Grade Wing: Classrooms – 11; Special Education Classrooms – 2; Small Group Rooms – 3; Commons/Breakout – 2
  • 4th Grade Wing: Classrooms – 11; Special Education Classrooms – 2; Small Group Rooms – 3; Commons/Breakout – 2
  • On large Sensory Room on the first floor; One additional Special Education Classroom on the second floor; Art Rooms – 2; Music Rooms – 2
  • Cafeteria Seating – 466 students; Gym Bleachers Seating – 275 students

Westlake students who will be among the first to attend the new PreK-4 Elementary School going up next to Porter Library took part in groundbreaking ceremonies.

Planning

Westlake voters approved a 1.3-mill bond issue and 0.8-mill permanent improvement levy on Nov. 8, 2016. The bond issue funds a new, centrally located PK-4 elementary school to replace the district’s four aging schools. The PI levy creates a separate maintenance fund for capital expenses to help protect the public’s investment in facilities. The combined 2.1-mill issue completes the final phase of the Master Facilities Plan.

Project History

The Westlake City School District and the City of Westlake announced an agreement in March, 2017,on a joint land exchange and infrastructure improvement deal that best serves the entire community. The agreement, in summary, involves the following:

  • Westlake Schools will take ownership of a 29.4 city-owned acres on Center Ridge Road next to Westlake Porter Public Library to build a PK-4 elementary building.
  • In exchange, the City of Westlake will take ownership of 42 acres of district-owned property on Bradley Road, as well as the former administration building at the corner of Dover Center Road and Hilliard Boulevard.
  • The district also will sign over the deed to its Parkside property – which houses administrative offices and the Board of Education – to the city. The district will rent the property for $1 per year with a buyback option over the next 10 years. The city retains the right to use the building’s gymnasium, sports fields and auditorium for municipal events during the lease period. The district will maintain the grounds during the lease period.

This agreement is not limited to an exchange of land. The city agreed to fund about $1 million in improvements on Center Ridge Road, including a traffic signal and turning lanes, to accommodate increased traffic. The city also is dramatically reducing permit fees for the new elementary project.

For additional project updates and information, visit www.wlake.org/our-schools/westlake-elementary-school.

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