ELIDA — The cranes arrived at Elida Elementary School early Wednesday morning. So too did the former students: Children, parents and grandparents, all watching from the parking lot in their pickup trucks and SUVs as the school that raised them was torn to pieces.
Behind the line of vehicles sits the new Elida Elementary School, which will open its doors to students for the first time in September.
“It had so many good memories from when they were in elementary school,” said Joel Mengerink, superintendent of Elida schools.
Built in 1962, generations of Elida families spent their early years learning to read, write and make friends at Elida Elementary.
But the nearly 60-year-old building was aging. The two-story building had no air-conditioning, making for a brutal first and final few weeks of classes in the spring and late summer. There was so little space that social workers and therapists worked out of closets.
“It (was) time to give our students the necessary tools that they need to get the education they deserve to prepare them for future endeavors,” Mengerink said. “The new building will do that.”
The new 138,000 square-foot elementary building is twice the size of the old building, with enough space for additional classrooms retrofitted with smart televisions and other technologies.
Tax credits from the Ohio Facilities Commission offered Elida schools $18.1 million to build the elementary school, part of a state-funded effort to rebuild Ohio’s schools, which cut the cost of Elida’s building project in half after voters approved a 2.8 mill bond issue and 0.50 mill levy in 2018.
Former Elida students and their families were invited inside the elementary school for one last open house in May, stirring memories of their early years and presenting an opportunity to take a piece of the school home too, as unused school supplies and old equipment was removed weeks prior to the demolition.
Students are expected to have their first day the Tuesday after Labor Day, with a dedication ceremony planned for late August.