Sheffield Schools break ground on long-awaited new school building

Sheffield Village/Sheffield Lake

By John Edwards

About 150 people – residents, parents, students, teachers, administrators, staff members, alumni and dignitaries took advantage of a chilly but bright Saturday morning to see the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new Brookside High and Sheffield Middle School (SMS) building on March 9. Although the day was bright, it hadn’t yet warmed up at 10 a.m., but the generally smiling audience didn’t mind a bit: This moment had been a long time coming, and they were not about to miss it.

MKC Associates chief architect David Zeller provided shovels and hardhats for the ceremony (as well as the design for the 140,000-square-foot school). The ceremony came after ground was broken to begin site preparation and construction of in-ground utilities. After buying the land decades before approving a $31 million bond issue and then waiting well over a year for the bureaucratic morass of wetland remediation to be negotiated, residents of Sheffield Village and Sheffield Lake were on hand to see the third version of Brookside High School on 52 wooded acres just north of the second Brookside High on Harris Road. That building will be remodeled for use by grades four, five and six, while the first, on the other side of the road, will be razed.

“As a graduate of ‘Brookside 1,’ I’m very happy to see the beginning of ‘Brookside 3’ today,” said a grinning Eddie Herdendorf, who graduated in 1957. He was one of the last students to have attended grades K-12 in the Brookside School that is the current SMS. “My mom was in the first class to start first grade in 1924 and then graduate from ‘Brookside 1.’”

“I know how much work went into this project and I’m glad to be here to see it happen but for me it’s bittersweet,” Ohio state Sen. Gayle Manning said. “I was a member of the first class to graduate from the current Brookside High. But I attended the opening night performance of ‘Grease’ last weekend and when I looked around I thought, It’s time for a new school.’ I was a teacher for 37 years, so I know how important the surroundings can be to kids who are learning. This is a great day.”

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of a community that values education,” state Rep. Matt Lundy said. “Both communities showed their support when they passed the bond issue in hard economic times. This is an example of what can happen when voters, educators, state and federal officials all work together. A new building project like this is a major undertaking but it was long overdue, but it’s an example of what can be done when we all work together. “

“When I was elected mayor of Sheffield Village the first thing I did was arrange a meeting with Dr. Folger and thenSheffield Lake Mayor John Piskura, who’s not here today, in the Superintendant’s office,” Sheffield Village Mayor John Hunter said. “We started to work toward this day then and Mayor Bring stepped right in when he was elected and we continued to work together.

“Way back in the 1990s I was a member of the school board that bought this piece of property, looking forward to this event,” Sheffield Lake Mayor Dennis Bring (BHS ’73) said. “A lot of people back then told me, ‘You know this is a pipe dream; they’ll never pass a bond issue.’ Well, those people were wrong. We did it. Soon our excellent teachers and students will be able to work together in the kind of state-of-the-art building they deserve.”

“It’s exciting to see our collective vision come to fruition,” Board of Education President Sheila Lopez said.“This is the beginning of exciting things to come.”

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